This year has been anything but normal, especially when it comes to sports during a global pandemic. Boys swim was one of Woodland Regional High School’s teams that suffered the most during this time. Luckily, Head Coach Brendan Heller worked hard to make this season as safe and normal as possible.
Even though this is Heller’s first season with the boys, that doesn’t mean that he is any less experienced. A Citizen News article with Heller explains, “The 30-year-old brings plenty of swimming and coaching experience to the table. He was a four-year swimmer at Bryant University and started coaching shortly after his competitive career ended. His most recent gig was as a full-time assistant coach at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and previous stops include several clubs, colleges, and private high schools in the Tri-State area.” What he did have to figure out, however, was how to bring home an NVL Championship trophy without any normalcy as a team.
The first issue that the group had to overcome was how to approach winning virtual meets. Since the team can’t travel to other schools, the virtual meets made the competitiveness and intensity difficult to maintain.
Senior captain, Noah Scott, explained that, “COVID-19 has made the season really difficult, especially for swim. With virtual meets, we lose a lot of our motivation to swim faster. To make up for this, we’ve really focused on cheering hard, blasting music, and creating inter-team competitions to get back a bit of what we lost.”
Other seniors, such as Noah Behrle, Brooke Iannone, Riley Muricchio, and Patrick Zieba, lead the team both in breaking school records and building a positive attitude.
Will Tottenham, a junior on the swim team, claimed,“It is different to compete against a team that isn’t there.”
Looking forward, the boys continue to train hard and practice diligently to make the best of the circumstances. This mindset won them an 8-1 record for the regular season.
“Competing in virtual meets is completely different from our traditional meets like we’re used to,” junior Tyler Cyr stated. “But luckily, we have a team full of great people who push each other to do better every day.”