Freshman Swimming: Expectation Versus Reality

Larissa Lieberson, Staff Writer

As Westport is located right on a beach, I find it hard to imagine that many Staples students are unable to swim. So why make it mandatory for everybody to swim at school?

I can’t keep count of all the people who have told me about their creative ways to get out of swimming in P.E. freshman and sophomore year.

“Oh, I’ll just pretend I have eczema,” or “My mom will write me a note,” they say. I hardly doubt that they are all telling the truth.

Although I can relate, considering how terrified I was. How would I leave my hair unstraightened for weeks on end? Are the locker rooms clean?

I remember at the very first freshman orientation last year, I left only remembering one thing, “Everyone will be required to participate in half a quarter of swimming.”

My jaw dropped, and I immediately began scheming ways to get excused from it. Last week, the time had finally come. The moment I have been dreading ever since last year.

It was Monday morning. Bright and early, my friends and I walked into the locker room on our tiptoes, trying to avoid stepping in the large clumps of hair that are left on the floor. We were scared. Would it really be as bad as we thought?

Although changing into bathing suits, and the difficult locker situation made us believe that awful thoughts would be true, we started to actually enjoy ourselves. The actual swimming part of the class isn’t that bad.

Once we thought about it, we all realized we would rather be swimming than doing some of the other activities we did in P.E. earlier in the year.

I think we can all agree that swimming isn’t the greatest. There isn’t always enough time to completely shower, and after swimming everyone smells like chlorine in class. But, if the reason why we all have to swim is for our general safety, then I guess it’s worth it to suffer for a couple weeks.

However, I think there is a better alternative, that is, a swim test. Why can’t we be tested on the first day of class to make sure we all know the basics of swimming such as treading water and freestyle?

As long as you pass then I think there is no need to take the course. Overall, I can honestly say that all the horror stories about freshman swimming are much worse than the course actually is.