SARAH BUERKER AND KELLY GAO
The Guilderville swim team is notoriously close. With a coach as whimsical as the parade of rambunctious high school girls he coaches, it’s hard to believe we placed fourth at sectionals this year—a hard earned achievement considering three of the top four teams of NYS were among our many competitors. However, the most remarkable aspect of our team does not lie in our podium triumphs but in the closeness of our team family. With a team whose athletes treat each other like sisters, it’s a wonder it all started with each girl’s individual dedication to the sport they love, which came long before the defining characteristic of Guilderville: our dedication to each other. Swimming is a sport in which athletes have been taught from a young age that the focus is, and should always be, on your own progress. This is precisely why it’s been a huge privilege to have been a member of such a tightly knit team, on which each athlete swims not for themselves but for the team’s success as a whole. Each girl is always excited and enthusiastic, even if they didn’t put up the best time they’ve been working for but beat the girl on the opposing team swimming next to them, scoring points for Guilderville. Though we might not have won every meet, the cheers and screams from the side of the pool were never hushed, teammates never failing to group hug you after your races, whether your relay just made states or you barely made it to the wall. Over the years, this group of girls has had the uncanny ability to make each other leave all the problems and worries of the day in the locker room. After the countless hours spent training, laughing, racing, and working together, we think we speak for all of us Guilderville swimmers when we say we know the tiles of the bottom of our pool better than we know the creaks in our own floorboards at home.
Regardless of race, school, age, background, we’ve always let our talents and the effort we put into the pool talk for us. Though not all of our swimmers may be from Guilderland, our quiet perseverance and incredibly strong family bond show the level of dedication, loyalty, and respect we have for each other, qualities all athletes at Guilderland have for their teammates. This small but spirited circle of girls, which we have had the greatest honor of being a part of, represents the best aspects of our Guilderland family, dysfunctionality and all.