POTTSVILLE, Pa. — If you're a runner, you can run outside. If you play basketball, chances are you can find a hoop somewhere. But swimmers need a pool, which isn't all that easy to access, making the last few months challenging.
"Like running a steeplechase race on a track, a water hazard, and quite a few hurdles," said Pottsville Area swimming coach Ned Hampford.
That's why swimmers with the Pottsville Area High School swim team are so happy to get back in the water. They understand that the plug could be pulled at any moment, but for now, they're soaking up every opportunity to glide in the water with their teammates.
"I appreciate it a lot because most swimmers around here, they can't swim, so it's an opportunity for us to get better," said junior Taleah Ruben.
Many athletes say there's a mental health component to all of this, too. Aside from the physical benefits that come with competing, there's great psychological value as well. For these swimmers, the pool can serve as an escape, a safe haven that can alleviate stress. It's something to look forward to after a long day of sitting at a desk or in front of a computer taking virtual classes.
"Swimmers are basically self-motivated, disciplined kids. When you get away from that routine, that discipline, it does affect them. Now that we're back in the water, their spirits are lifted. It's a release," Hampford said.
"Definitely getting back in the water is definitely a relief for me," said senior Zaidian Van Orden.
If we've learned anything recently, it's that things can change quickly, but these swimmers hope everything continues to go swimmingly.