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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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JR’s Block and Kaleem: swimming to success

After setting an incredible standard in the pool for their unwavering commitment and remarkable achievements, two JR students were recognized for their winter swim season. Junior Jacob Kaleem and freshman Jessica Block both received the title of All-League swimmer and most valuable player. 

As a freshman swimmer, Block values teamwork and resilience. Even early in her JR swimming journey, her determination and passion for swimming shine. Block aspires to compete at the collegiate level and is driven by her ambition and love for the sport. “I want to swim in college and hopefully go D1,” Block said. Block’s sister Elizabeth, a junior at JR, shared, “she is always ready to go and puts swimming on top of everything else.” 

Block and Kaleem both have devotion and love for swimming that has pushed them towards their goals, ultimately leading to their achievements. Kaleem has been swimming since he was a little kid. “I have been swimming for 13 years,” Kaleem said. “I guess it’s always been a part of me.”

Both athletes demonstrate their commitment to their sport. Elizabeth shared that her sister holds a large ”dedication and focus to swimming, [and] her love and passion for the sport [help her] get better.” 

Kaleem’s journey as a swimmer has been marked with ups and downs. After enduring a shoulder injury, Kaleem missed half his sophomore season. After the recovery, he felt that, “when I did swim, I didn’t swim that great.” 

Despite this setback, Kaleem was determined to perform well his junior year and dedicated himself to rigorous training; balancing club swimming and weight room workouts with the football team. 

During the swim season, Kaleem and Block acknowledged the unwavering support they received from the team. For Kaleem, his coach’s guidance has been essential to his journey towards excellence. 

“My coach has always pushed me to be great,” Kaleem shared, reflecting on the mentorship. He added, “he put me in the events where he thinks I can strive in,” highlighting the coach’s insight and dedication to maximize his potential. Block also shared the importance of coaches and embracing their guidance, stating, “I listen to coaches, take their advice and follow through with it”. 

“Teammates are very motivating,” Block emphasized, noting the collective spirit in the swimming community. Encouragement and camaraderie are valued in their team dynamic. “They cheer behind your races and don’t make you feel like you’re alone,” Block added. 

Likewise, Kaleem reflected on the constant encouragement he received from his teammates. “They were the ones pushing me and telling me to keep going,” he recalled. “Even when I started to give up a little bit, they were always in my corner, always pushing me. Without them, I don’t know if I would’ve won.”

Additionally, both are seen as inspiring members of the team. Many people find Block and Kaleem encouraging personalities on the team. “Jacob and Jessica are beacons for our team, they are great swimmers for our team, most of the team looks up to them,” said Giacomo Ban-Goodrich, a fellow Tiger Shark.

In the realm of competitive highschool swimming, Block and Kaleem set a high standard. Both navigate the path of high achievement and personal growth. 

Through their journey, it has been shown that success is not only measured by victories, but by community spirit and support. Their focus on excellence comes with perseverance, dedication, and commitment to the sport they love.

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Clara Durante
Clara Durante, Spanish Editor
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