SPLASH! Not loud, not big. Maybe more like splash because a swimmer’s dive is never spectacular. Swimmers enter the water in one narrow and sleek motion, putting all the energy into the stroke – and not expending a drop on the splash.
If you are in doubt, go visit the pool any cold afternoon this semester and you will find the 16 enthusiastic members of the VFMA swim team hard at it. Coached by Mr. Tim Oskin, Science teacher at VFMA, the team has been reestablished after a hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise,” said Mr. Oskin. “It builds endurance, requires extreme discipline, and challenges our Cadets mentally and physically.” Mr. Oskin doesn’t ask the team to do anything he hasn’t done himself for nearly 20 years. A former competitive swimmer, he swam in high school and through his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh. Since then he has coached swimming at the high school level, for YMCA teams, and various aquatic clubs.
Practice began for the team before the winter break in preparation for meets against the George School, Moorestown Friends School, and possibly one other. The first meet was hosted at the George School.
“We have done well,” said Mr. Oskin. “The experienced swimmers have respectable times and the beginners are working hard to improve their times at each meet.”
There are four strokes the team must master: freestyle, breast stroke, back stroke, and butterfly. “We have swimmers at every level of experience,” said Mr. Oskin. “Some are veterans and others are just starting out. Across the team, we have swimmers experienced in all the necessary strokes.”
Science has studied the minds of swimmers and they are shown to be different. “Swimmers compete against a clock and spend hours practicing while staring at a long black line submerged beneath them,” said Mr. Oskin. “Practices are long and conditions are not always pleasant – and yet our Cadets show up every day. I am glad the team is back – they are a great example of what the Five Cornerstones mean.”
Apart from science is how the Cadet swimmers are with one another. “The level of cheering and support for teammates, during the swim meets especially, is deafening,” said Mr. Oskin. “Our Cadets are always up on their feet and cheering loudly for their teammates in the water. And experienced swimmers are very willing to take beginners under their wing and teach them proper form and technique.” Which is exactly what you would expect of a VFMA Cadet. Go Team!