Be a Punk or Grab your Trunks: Swimming at Staples Examined

Kelsey Landauer ‘12
Staff Writer / CC BY 2.0

The one place that you can see your classmates without any pants on—the Staples Pool house. This chlorine-filled haven is not only a great way to cool down and relax  in the middle of the day but also a graduation requirement. Staples requires that every student participate in one half of a quarter of freshman swimming fundamentals, and one half of a quarter in sophomore water polo, unless medically excused.

Just like any other sport that is played in gym class, there are a wide variety of skill levels within each gym class. The student who have only been swimming during their vacations will be participating in the same drills as the student who is on the swim team. “We have to be able to cater to all different skill levels,” said Mr. Caetano, “We have to make everyone feel comfortable.” For those who have never swam before and are willing to learn, this fact is acknowledged. These people will not be forced to go in the deep end. Each class has a pool assistant, who can teach individuals, or small groups of students who think they might need extra attention.

It may be hard to believe that not everyone is enthusiastic about taking a dip in the middle of the day, but when temperatures drip to a crisp thirty degrees, the thought of stripping down to a bathing suit is not so appealing to all. Both the students and the swim coaches are familiar with the infamous “I forgot my bathing suit” excuse. Coach Betts admits that one of his students tried to pull the “My mom forgot to pack my bathing suit” trick on him. These weak attempts at excuses are usually a freshman device, because they hear all sorts of negative rumors about the class. Therefore, some of them go into the class with a pessimistic attitude.

Shelby Schulman ’12 said that “After my first few swimming classes during freshman year, I eventually started looking forward to them.” Coach Betts, Coach Caetano, and Coach Gusitch all agree that swimming is “a positive experience and a great lifetime sport,” as Gusitch put it. Jay Kaplan ’12 admits that as a freshman he dreaded swimming class, but “the laps really aren’t that bad, and water polo is a lot of fun.”

If a student has a broken arm, they clearly are not going to be very successful with the breast stroke. All a student has to do to be properly excused from swim class is to get a doctor’s note, which will be validated through the school’s nurses office. However, there’s not much room for creativity. A note from a family friend who happens to be a dermatologist claiming that the student has back problems won’t cut it. The doctor’s telephone number is on the note for a reason!  Each student is allowed three nurse’s notes which excuse the student from class for the day if they are feeling under the weather. Students with long term injuries will be provided with an alternate activity in order to earn proper credit for the course.

Staples students get your “swim trunks, and your flippy-floppies”, because its time to dive in to the Staples pool with your classmates.