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Swimming Strong

Blue-tinted water floats peacefully inside the pool, shimmering under the light. Swimmers take their stands on one edge of the pool, and a hush settles over the crowd as if everyone is holding their breath. Then the whistle sounds and the swimmers dive into the water, propelling themselves through the water at a seemingly impossible pace.

Ethan Houts, sophomore, has been swimming since he was 8 years old. He was a part of the South swim team his freshman year but didn’t continue with it this year. Now, he swims with the Northland United Swim Team, or NLU.

He plans on continuing to swim with NLU.

“The school team focuses on sprinting events and strength,” Houts said. “Because of the short season.”

Even though he’s no longer a part of the South Swim Team, he still has good memories of being part of the team.

“Two years ago, the whole team got sick with crypto, and so did the entire KC area,” Houts said. “It spread to all the pools.”

He also placed seventh at a varsity conference his freshman year.

The 100 free and 100 backstroke are his favorite strokes because they’re the “fastest two strokes.” His best times are also the free and backstroke, 55 seconds and 63 seconds, consecutively.

Amy Montalbano, sophomore, has been swimming since first grade. She also swims with a club but is also a part of the South Swim Team.

She’s a distance swimmer, so she prefers the one mile and 200 meter over sprints. The South Swim Team and club swimming have their differences, but she still likes the sport.

“It’s different from other sports,” Montalbano said. “There’s no ball, it’s in water, it’s a different element.”

Hout’s favorite thing about swimming, though, is the people.

“I’m good friends with a lot of people on the team,” he said. “So I race a lot of people I know.”

As the race ends, perhaps the last one of the season, as each swimmer makes their way back across the pool, their hand touching the wall, a time glares down at them from above. At the end of the day, though, there’s more to swim than the numbers.