The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

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Swim Focuses on Winning Season

Swim+Focuses+on+Winning+Season

In order to improve the physical and mental health of the team members, Coach Ronald Lee came up with ways to improve his athletes as the new season approaches, and 2022-2023 is the best year so far.

Sandie swim team consists of 13 seniors, 7 juniors, 12 sophomores and 7 freshmen. The team begins district and state swim meets in February, and every athlete has one common goal: winning. 

“Some goals I have for swim this year are for Addison Newman and Alec Purdy to qualify for State, and for our boy’s relay to also qualify for state.” Coach Lee said.

 The team has also made monumental advancements in mental health awareness this year. The athletes feel as though the coach sees and values them as human beings and not just athletes. 

“There are some changes we have made to improve each practice. At the end of each month the coaches have started taking into account the mental health of students,” sophomore Baktower Parvez said. “So the coach has us collectively gather and asks us about what we need to work on and it’s basically a big conversation over mental health.”

As a whole, the team has improved significantly through hard work and training, they all have individual goals and high hopes to reach them. The new coaching styles and practice structures have made those goals seem all the more feasible.

“I’ve made a lot of changes in team culture,” Lee said. “ AISD has kind of made me the head coach for all four high schools, so I’m here to build a team culture where Amarillo High, Tascosa, Caprock, and Palo Duro are not separated and segregated. I want it to be more unified so Amarillo High kids can help some of the other kids and vice-versa for all the other schools.”

Swimming requires both mental and physical strength due to the difficulty of the sport. Determination to constantly grow in your physical ability requires a lot of mental motivation, that is why mental health is so important to the swim team. At the end of each month, the team gets together and talks about their past meets, struggles, and where they are now. This allows the team to recognize what they need to do in order to develop.

“Swim is not just jumping into the water,” Baktower said. “ It’s not that simple. It’s a mental exercise. It’s not just the physicality of it, it’s more of pushing through the limits. Terrestrial sports are a whole different thing underwater. I want people to know that swimming is just as important as all the other sports.”

“My goal this year is to beat everyone else,” sophomore Wyatt Willburn said.

Thanks to the new changes in practices and bonds created this year, that collective goal seems reachable. Having the athletes work together creates team bonds that allow athletes to work together, and therefore succeed. Team bonds are vital in building a strong, hardworking team.

“My biggest goal for the swim team is that we beat old practice times and make it to state,” Wilburn said. “Our practices have gotten a lot better, and I really think winning at state is a possibility.”

Lee constantly strives to improve the team in every way possible, so they become the best. Days when everyone gets in the pool, complete their sets, and reaches their practice goals are good days.

“We need to operate more as team AISD than we have in the past,” Lee said.“ I have started rotating lanes and have created a faster interval group in the morning. In the afternoon we made a couple of changes to where now the second group practices with the first group.” 

With high hopes to win state, swim strives to be successful at every swim meet leading up to it. At this rate not only will they have the tools to win, they will also have the tools to succeed in so much more.

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About the Contributor
Mandie Haney, Assistant Editor
Hey! I'm an assistant editor and I've been on staff for two years now. A fun fact about me is that I'm really good at peeling oranges. I love writing and I'm so excited to put even more stuff out this year.