JR swim team gears up for this year

The tiger sharks made a splash in their 2022-2023 swim season. 

Although the team faced obstacles early on, with practices being relocated to Takoma Aquatic Center throughout December, they had an incredibly successful season. Both girls and boys went undefeated throughout the regular season and placed first at the DC Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) championships in February. 

Head coach Callie Hyder, has been with the team for the last two years. Hyder grew up in the pool, swimming and playing water polo. She started coaching Jackson-Reed’s swim team last year after moving back to DC. Only a few weeks into the season, she said she “[enjoyed] watching everyone build on their skills and improve each time they are in the water.”

The team was also led by their captains, seniors Aaron Berdy, Mia Clocker, and Kavita O’Malley and junior Giacamo Ban-Goodrich. The captains have been incredibly proud of the growth of the saw throughout the season and the friendly community on the team. 

An exciting addition to this season was the inclusion of spectators. Last year, due to COVID regulations, the number of swimmers allowed to attend were limited and no spectators were allowed. Although the number of swimmers per meet was still capped, the addition of spectators increased the enthusiasm at meets. 

Coach Callie has been proud of the team’s Tiger Pride and enthusiastically shared that “at meets, we are the loudest, proudest, and best (in my humble opinion) team at the pool!” This year has also allowed for other improvements including a more organized season and successful captain practices. According to Ban-Goodrich, the pools were also much warmer this year making practices more bearable.

“Everyone was really welcoming and the practices and meets were all really fun,” said freshman Claire Yoder. It was her first year on the team but she quickly felt at home and was excited by the team’s success. 

Throughout the season the coaches and captains worked to build the team community. The team implemented pre-meet carbo loads before each of their meets to prepare for the competition while bonding outside of the pool. The captains also organized fun practices, with relays and games to help people engage with the sport in a fun way. 

At meets, the swimmers participated in the traditional ice-breaker circle and tiger chant (always decisively right after School Without Walls, for intimidation purposes). The swimmers also posed for O’Malley who brought a camera to meets to capture the team spirit in action. 

The tiger sharks ended their season on a high, with the girls coming in fourth and guys fifth at the competitive DC State Athletic Association (DCSAA) championship, with eight teams in total competing.Both captains and coaches were thrilled with the team’s success. 

This season, the team had more tigers than ever who all contributed to the season’s success. The team hopes to see the Jackson-Reed swim family grow in the coming seasons. As Hyder shared, “If you like to swim and want to be part of our wild and fun Tiger Shark family, the swim team is the perfect fit for you!”