Three Gators have been working hard this fall– not on a field or on a court, but in a pool. These three Gator girls, Cecelia “Cece” Yeager, Greta Novacek, and Ava Novacek joined “The North” girls’ swim team (a combination of Roseau, Warroad, and Badger/Greenbush-Middle River swimmers) for different reasons and at different times, but they are all glad they did.
Since she was an infant, Badger High School junior Cece has always enjoyed swimming. After seeing her cousin join swimming, she decided to join the swim team too during her eighth grade year.
A GMR High School junior, Greta Novacek joined the team her tenth grade year last fall after volleyball wasn’t going well for her. So, after about the first week of volleyball practice that year, she decided to make the switch from the court to the pool after finding out about the swim practice times.
“I wanted to try something new because I lifeguard at the Greenbush Pool, and so I’d do tricks of the diving board and I thought that was fun, and me and (lifeguard) Morgan Anderson, we’d try to do tricks against each other. And so, I was like (thinking), oh, it’d be so fun to go and dive and compete.”
After seeing her older sister Greta join the previous year, GMR seventh grader Ava decided to participate on the swim team this year, knowing it was something she wanted to do.
“When Greta started, I always thought that that looked like the best thing and funnest thing to do, so when I became able to, I told Greta, ‘Oh, I want to swim.’”
These three girls practice everyday during the school week in Warroad, except for Wednesdays when they practice in Roseau.
Swim practices are, as Cece described them, a long grind, but by the end, as Ava added, it’s a grind that’s worth it. They begin practice at 4 pm and end at 6:15 pm. The girls get some recovery time during practice, but no prolonged breaks. For example, they will do a set of six 100-meter swims and then take about a minute break, enough time to catch their breath, before repeating this same process over and over again.
At 5 pm, Greta usually starts practicing her diving. The team ends their practice with a cool down, which usually entails doing a 200-meter freestyle swim, but at an easier and slower pace.
To participate and compete in swimming requires, as these girls described it, the ability to believe in one’s self and push past more than just one’s competitors in the other lanes.
“You have to keep on going and going and push yourself.” Greta said.
“Push yourself past the pain so it doesn’t hurt,” Cece added.
Greta responded, “Yeah, because your legs will start burning or your arms… and then you go faster because you want to finish strong.”
To see the complete story, read the October 4 issue of The Tribune in print or online.