Westfield swimmer Kate Peck (11) describes her swimming experience and shares tips on staying motivated
January 9, 2022
Q: What made you want to start swimming?
A: I started when I was little and my brother swam, so I think it was partly because my parents thought it would be good for me and partly because I wanted to be like my brother. I was 7 and he was 11 so he was cool.
Q: What events do you specialize in?
A: I mostly do distance freestyle, so for high school I do the 200 and 500 free and some relays. At sectionals my freshman and sophomore year, that’s what I swam. Since I also do club, I swim the mile at those meets.
Q: What has doing relays taught you about this sport?
A: Relays have just taught me to be more of a team player, especially because swimming is almost entirely individual. I have to adjust and make sure I’m focused so I don’t disqualify the whole relay. I also like to try to make sure I have a good attitude and I’m encouraging my teammates. I don’t swim on the championship relay at sectionals, but I swim on the relay in prelims, so it can be a little stressful. If I get disqualified, the championship relay can’t swim, and we usually place pretty high in those events.
Q: How do you prepare for meets?
A: Since I’ve been swimming club for so long and because I’m used to high school meets, I don’t usually get too nervous for meets. When I do feel nervous, I usually listen to music, try to visualize my races, or talk to one of my teammates. At some of our bigger meets that more of us get nervous for, like sectionals, we will usually add some extra fun into our warm-up… At sectionals the past 2 years we’ve either done Just Dance off of someone’s phone or just got each other excited as a team.
Q: How do you stay motivated?
A: I just try to stay excited and work hard. I also try to set a lot of goals for myself, and I am a very goal-oriented person [so] that usually works for me. It’s also really nice to have my teammates around me [because] that helps to keep me excited about swimming… [and gives me] people to compete with.
Q: What has being on the team at Westfield taught you?
A: I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, dedication, and being more accommodating. We do a lot more team bonding stuff for the high school team and it’s allowed me to get close with some of my best friends. It’s also really fun to get to hang out with and get to know everyone. I am dedicated to swimming and I know that it’s a trait that will help me throughout my life. I’ve also had to adjust and compromise a little bit more. Sometimes we do have issues because we all spend so much time together.
Q: How has swimming changed since quarantine?
A: Quarantine changed swimming so much for me. I have been swimming since I was 7 and I don’t think I went more than 2 weeks without swimming for that entire time… I had been swimming constantly for like 8/9 years and then everything shut down and we couldn’t practice for like 3 months. It was super weird to have so much time off, but I also think it kind of helped me. After swimming so consistently for so long, even though it did suck to lose that much practice time, it was also kind of renewing for me. I was excited to go back and start swimming again, and I hadn’t felt that way in a while. What sucked about how quarantine affected swimming was that I got Covid last November, so I missed 3 weeks of swimming when everyone else was practicing. That was difficult because I fell pretty far behind and it ended up having a negative effect on my swims at sectionals.
Q: What’s your favorite memory from swimming?
A: I have so many great memories from swimming, but some of my favorites are probably our team sleepovers and events, sectional meets, and just small things that have happened at practices. We usually have a few team sleepovers every season and it’s just so fun to get to know everyone and talk to everyone. We also have a tradition where the girl’s team and the boy’s team prank each other whenever we have our sleepovers. So we would normally split up into a few cars and then go to the boy’s houses and switch their signs (the signs we all have with our last names on them). Sectionals are always really fun because we all get excited and it’s awesome to get to watch everyone race hard. There’s also a tradition where we go to each other’s (girls go to boys and boys go to girls) sectionals and we all dress up as a specific thing. As… [freshmen] one of our themes was zombie prom and it was really fun to get dressed up and cheer on the boy’s swimming team.