One Final Dip in the Pool: Honoring Senior Swimmers


The swim careers of the senior boys on the BHS swim team are coming to a close. Seven out of Eight of them have been involved in this great sport that fosters discipline, growth, and comradery–both in and out of the pool–for four consecutive years now. This journey that they have taken together has shaped who they are as people. However, that is not to say that the boys haven’t faced their fair share of challenges. In fact, it is in spite of their demanding schedule that swimming has had such a big impact on their lives. No, their grueling routine is not for the faint of heart. Practice begins at 5:45 a.m. three days a week, and they get to sleep in on Saturdays because practice starts a whole 15 minutes later, at 6:00 a.m. (ouch). In addition to their Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning practices, they have a two hour practice everyday after school. The class of ‘22’s dedication and commitment these past four years is something that we should all acknowledge and try to honor. After all, this grueling schedule is part of what has shaped these boys into the people they are today.
“When someone asks me who I am, I think: swimming,” senior Ryan Nakisher said, as he reflected on how being a part of the swim team has affected him. He explained, “When you work at something for four years straight for such a long period of time, under such difficult circumstances, it becomes a part of you.”
Despite how taxing the sport may be at times, these boys have a passion for swim that runs so deep, it makes even the hardest challenges worth it. Nakisher describes what this is like for him. “It affects my school life both for the worse and for the better…I’m always tired during swim season, but then again there’s a sense of accomplishment; when you wake up and work out in the morning, you feel like you’re ahead of the game. It’s a good feeling,” he said.
Joe Fredal also feels that swim has been a very rewarding experience, and the discipline that it has taught him has really impacted him in an amazing way. “I think that swimming kind of helps me to clear my head, and using the discipline that it’s taught me, I can form plans about what I want to do with my life.” With a smile, he said, “It keeps me on track.” LaVaughn Veasey would agree. He said that swim has really helped him to become more organized as a person, and has taught him the importance of the little things, such as getting a good breakfast in the mornings.
Although the boys swim solo in their lanes, swimming is far from an individual sport. Having been on the same team for four years, these seniors in particular have spent so much of their careers with the other boys on the team, growing closer with them, and creating memories that will last them a lifetime. Nakisher claimed that the fact of being part of a “collective” is actually what drives each of the swimmer’s individual aspirations. They’re all in it together, and are comforted by knowing that they are not the only one’s jumping in that crisp water first thing in the morning for before-school practices. However, their relationships extend beyond just that of teammates. Veasey referred to what Nakisher described as the “collective” as a “brotherhood.” Similarly, Fredal described the team as a “family.” He explained that in most sports freshmen are always feeling pressure to prove themselves, and while there is still some of that in swim, everyone on the team notably “is well-respected and loved.”

Ryan Nakisher

Although Veasey is the only one who is planning on pursuing swim in college, Nakisher and Fredal both plan on swimming for a club team. And while Fredal admitted, “Not competitively swimming will kind of stink because the community that I’ve formed through competitive swimming is fantastic,” he will carry his cherished memories of his Berkley swim days with him forever–all of the boys will.
Swimming is more than a sport. It is a family, it is a passion, and it is, truly, a lifestyle. For years, these Berkley swimmers ate, slept, and breathed swim. And the boys will not only have memories to remind them of this holy trinity, they will also carry over lessons of discipline and drive into their future endeavors.