ATWB seniors reflect on high school careers

By guest writers Jessica Pociecha and Sofia Anguilo

Addison Trail-Willowbrook Swimming Season Ends as Seniors Look Back at the Time Spent on the Team

The DuPage 88 swim team finished its season and wished well to its seniors, who reflected on their memories. These seniors also reflected on the way their sport has impacted their lives. This year, the team had four seniors that represented AT. All four of these seniors were captains of the team and they shared their experiences in this role on the team this season. 

“My experience as a captain on the team shaped me to be a more positive athlete who encouraged others to reach their goals and limits,” said senior captain Suzzanne Ramirez. 

Collectively, the group felt that their sophomore year was their favorite season, due to the fact there was no pandemic for them to struggle with. It was the last “normal” season for the team before everything shut down. 

“My favorite season was definitely sophomore year,” said Delaney Gayon, another senior captain. “It was the last normal season where we could bond and make memories.”

As the girls looked back on not only the current swimming season, but the entire duration of their time spent on the team, they shared their best memories and moments spent on the swimming team. Many of these memories were a result of the strong team bond. 

“We all grew really close as a result of the strong team bond,” said Ramirez.

They also reflected on what the team has done for them personally. Although they had to balance figuring out how to be on this team with the pandemic happening, they all were strong and navigated it well while still being safe as to not get themselves or anybody around them sick or at risk. They all said being a part of this team and sport has taught them skills that they will use for their future academic and occupational careers. They have learned how to better manage their time and how to balance all of their academics and sports while still having a fun high school experience. 

“The team taught me how to manage time and skills while getting my work done,” said Ramirez. “I was able to balance school, clubs, and volunteering all at once and I’m grateful for that experience.” 

According to senior Sneha Dhandapani, time on the ATWB team shaped her into a more positive, encouraging athlete who wants to help others obtain their goals. 

“Because the team consists of so many swimmers, it was important to me that every swimmer felt a part of the team. As a captain, I was granted the opportunity to take charge of this.”

The seniors all made many memories. For example, Ramirez said her favorite memory was when their team bus crashed on the way to the conference meet, which seemed to be something that bonded them.

“Although it was a very serious situation, looking at it now, the girls and I tried our hardest to keep everything optimistic and lighthearted. Without them, I definitely wouldn’t have been as calm and collected,” she said.

Gayon said her favorite memory from her four years on ATWB was creating friendships with my two best friends that will last a lifetime.

“The team really impacted me by showing that there are so many different ways to create relationships with your team that have made you a better version of yourself.”

The seniors ultimately expressed a bittersweet feeling about the season ending. 

“It is definitely a bit of a heartache, but I know that there are bigger and brighter things to strive for and look forward to in the future,” said Gayon 

“It’s bittersweet. I won’t miss the 9pm practices as much, but I’ll really miss the people along with the sport itself. It’s a reminder of how grateful I am for the memories, the practices, and my best friends,” said Dhandapani.

The girls’ inspiring connection and teamwork will lead them into college next year.

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