by Jonathan Sparacio
Samantha Helmy is the captain of the Girls’ Swimming Team. We sat down to talk about her experiences not only as captain, but also as a long-time swimmer. She shared her experiences and they don’t disappoint!
- Did you ever swim outside of tech?
“Yes, I did, starting around the middle of seventh grade actually. I was on Richmond Aquatics Club for a while until I joined Wagner Aquatics after I joined Tech’s swim team. Having multiple coaches definitely helped me in a positive way with my speed and technique.”
- When did you start swimming?
“I started when I joined RAC in seventh grade. I joined because my family and doctors wanted me to steer away from basketball because I injured my knee that year and the other knee sophomore year of high school. Swimming was the perfect answer to stay active.”
- How did you feel when you became the captain of the team this year?
“I actually became captain my junior year. The feeling was amazing not only because it showed how coach Annie trusted me, but because my coach picked me out of an outstanding group of girls. I met some of the best swimmers I know from this team. To be the one chosen out of them to lead this team was an honor. It made swimming all these years worth it.”
- What events do you usually swim?
“I swim a range of events; it is never just a set four. Usually 100 meter backstroke, the 200 medley relay in which I swim either 50 meter backstroke or butterfly and two freestyle relays. But, my coach will throw me in 100 meter butterfly and 500 meter freestyle to push me out of my comfort zone.”
- What is your favorite stroke?
“I can’t choose between butterfly and backstroke. They’re both so unique and I discovered natural ability in both. Maybe backstroke because my time is better but no matter how exhausting, butterfly is definitely up there.”
- How do you feel about your team’s performance this season?
“We went 8-2 this season, so needless to say, I was proud. We lost to one team, Tottenville, but we put up a fight that led to two close meets. I saw my fellow seniors grow as seniors alongside myself and witnessed the potential of the freshmen.”
- How do you feel about your last year on the team ending?
“It’s very bittersweet. This year’s swim season was exhausting having to balance it with 3 AP’s and college applications, but I still am in shock that it’s actually over. I grew so much as a swimmer and as a person on that team. Now, I get to help my coach with the boys season at this time.”
- What was your best memory on the team?
“My best memory goes back to freshman year, the one year in my swimming career at Tech we went undefeated on the island. I’ve never seen my coach happier. We all jumped in the pool at the end, including Annie out of pure happiness and excitement. It was a thrill and the best way to start my swim career at Tech.”
- What was your worst?
“My worst memory also goes back to freshman year, which was when I was asked to swim 100 meter butterfly the very first meet of the season. Every swimmer knows how dreadful that is, but to impress my coach, I agreed to do it. After diving off the block, my cap and goggles actually flew off forcing me to swim the entire event basically blind.”
- Will you continue to swim after high school?
“Absolutely. Working as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA allows me to practice individually at any time. Hopefully, whatever college I attend will offer a club or team I can try out for. The last thing I want is for swimming to end now. If anything, it’s just beginning.”