The first swim meet of the school year is always memorable for the Woodland Girl’s Swim Team. Every year, the girls put together a Secret Swimmer, similar to the Secret Santa gift-giving celebration done before Christmas. Secret Swimmer has been a way to get to know each other and kick off the season since the original Woodland Girl’s Swim team.
“It has played a role each year as it is something all the girls look forward to,” Mike Magas, Woodland’s Girls Swim and Dive coach said. “And it reminds us of the tradition that this team developed still continues.
Secret Swimmer began in 2002, which was the first year that Woodland’s pool opened. The girls came up with the name and the idea as a way to build team morale. Every season it impacts the girls, which is why the tradition continues to develop year after year. Magas started coaching the swim team in 2004 after the tradition had started, but he felt the team growing closer in the short two weeks and kept Secret Swimmer alive.
Secret Swimmer also helps performance during their first meet. After all the girls receive their gifts and learn more about each other, the spirit builds both inside and outside of the pool.
“Early on in the season, we don’t know too many of the girls, but [Secret Swimmer] helps you be able to find out what everyone likes and what they dont like. Even if you’ve never talked to them,” Ava Muharem, a sophomore on the swim team said.
During one of our beginning practices, the team takes the time to write all of their names, some things they like, and the events they swim down on a small piece of paper. Many girls even write down their favorite celebrity crush. Then, after shaking a large bucket, they all go around and choose a piece of paper, and whoever the girls get is the person they buy a gift and make a poster for.
It is a fun way for all the girls to get to know each other; however, the excitement doesn’t really begin until they can finally reveal who they have and give their gifts away.
“Finding out who has you after all the anticipation of not knowing is definitely my favorite part,” Muharem said. “Sometimes it’s hard to wait two weeks, but in the end, I love being surprised.”
The girls all gather together in the locker room with the biggest posters they could find decorated with all of their swimmer’s favorite things, along with a gift and delicious snacks to last them through the season.