SWIMMING SENIORS SHED TEARS DURING THEIR LAST HOME MEET

By JENNY TODD

Hunter Fanella finishes off her last race as a senior - PHOTO COURTESY of JOEY MARGITA - IHS DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION I STUDENT

IHS Swimming seniors have just participated in their last home meet. This is an unimaginable day that sadly has to come for every senior athlete. 

Swimming is a physical sport but it also holds a place in the mind. Countless hours of staring at the bottom of a black lined swimming pool is something you take head on. Imagine doing this for every single day of your life. 

 

Most of the seniors have been swimming for longer than just their high school years. Maggie Bennett, Anna Margita, Hunter Fanella, Leah Amsler, Abby Killam and Loughlin Pagnucci have all spent many years swimming on the local YMCA team aside from highschool. Bernadette Buchanchag was the only new swimmer to the highschool her freshman year. Senior night was quite surreal for them. Imagine looking around at kids that you have known for years, have raced, argued with and loved all come to an end. 

 

When swimming, one of the main things you are always told is “this is your family, you will see these people more than your own parents.” That stands the truth when it comes down to it: who do you have to see when you’re having a bad day or good day, your teammates. Walking away from the sport is hard but leaving behind family is harder.


I talked to senior Anna Margita who said “It is very hard for me to walk away from this sport and I can’t imagine not getting back into the pool next year.” This is something that the other seniors agreed with. That surreal feeling doesn’t go away. When asked if Anna thinks she’s going to regret anything about the sport she said “I regret not being in the moment and wishing that the end date would come faster. The time really flew by and I can’t believe it has gone this fast.” That seems to be a feeling that everyone relates to, even students who aren’t in a sport but the saying “life goes fast” lives true.

The only senior boy Loughlin Pagnucci said “My favorite memory has been all of the success that we have had over the past four years, especially beating Mt. Pleasant to win the section sophomore year and beat Laurel Highlands to win the section junior year, as well as winning the West A invitational this year.” This quote truly brings out what it means to be on a team. Loughlin’s favorite memory was not a race he individually won, but something the entire team was able to accomplish. Even though it is not a team sport exactly anyone would do anything for their teammates. 

Senior Hunter Fanella has been swimming for 12 years. That is more than half her life.  She said “I have been swimming since I was 6 years old, so this sport has grown with me. I have made so many friends and memories through this sport, and knowing that all of that will be behind me is sad. I’ll miss the practices, meets, and memories I’ve made. My favorite memory is going to states at Bucknell with my relay and enjoying our time there. it’s pretty hard, I have been doing it for 2/3 of my life so making an adjustment to not doing it will be difficult. I’ll miss the friends, the workouts, the racing, and the memories I made.” The number of hours she has put in has been truly inspiring and shows a lot about not just her but everyone’s character to persevere through tough times shows how truly successful this group of seniors will be.

The IHS swimming seniors Leah Amsler, Maggie Bennett, Bernadette Buchanchang, Abby Killam, Hunter Fanella, Anna Margita, and Loughlin Pagnucci are definitely going to have a hard time walking away from something they love. They will soon be able to share a memory with each other.

The IHS swim team will compete in WPIALS, on March 3 and 4th. Good luck to all the swimmers attending. Your hard work will pay off!

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