The AES MESAC swim meet was held from Monday, October 25th to Wednesday the 27th. The AES team swam competitive races for the final MESAC event. In years prior to COVID, the team would travel to Dubai, Doha, or Abu Dhabi, but obviously, for safety reasons, they couldn’t this year. For the swimmers, it was either their first MESAC in over a year or their first one ever. Instead of everyone racing in the same pool, all swimmers competed at their home schools and sent in results to compare. ASD, ACS, and ABA swam two weeks after AES. This was because of Diwali celebrations causing increased pollution in Delhi making the air unsafe for the swimmers; so the decision was made to have AES swim the last week of October. During the Friday and Saturday practices before the meet, swimmers were pushed to be better than ever in order to prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Then comes Monday morning, the beginning of the end. Instead of heading to their classes, swimmers went straight to the pool deck. Behind the diving boards, the wall was covered in posters for the swimmers, made by the swimmers. Once everyone arrived, stretching began and they got into the water at 8:30 for warm-ups. Before it officially started, the team gathered around while the seniors lit an oil lamp.
Day one: stress and anxiety clouded everyone’s vision. The day ended with eight disqualifications. After the races ended, everyone changed and sat together for lunch, stretching, and a debriefing on the day. It would be easy to walk away from the day angry and dissatisfied but the swimmers only took the DQs as fuel to be better.
Day two was all about making a comeback. The hardest, longest events took place on that competitive Tuesday. Swimmers were still worried but had even more drive and determination to win.
In the first event, two AES records were broken by the captains. Ellen swam a 50m freestyle in 29.11 seconds, and Nick swam the same event in 24.42 seconds. This time Nick broke his own AES record and now has the fastest MESAC time ever! Even though swimmers were tired and thinking about their next race, they still made sure to cheer teammates on.
Day three: the last chance. The team arrived energized and ready to race. Nothing would stop them from finishing this meet the best they could. There was not a single disqualification that day and two more long-lasting records fell. Both varsity girls' and boys’ teams for the 200m freestyle relay swam faster than ever before in AES. On the varsity girls team, the new record holders are Ellen, Cate, Anni, and Anoushka. On the varsity boys team, it was Augustin, Shiv, Jaden, and Nick.
After all the official races had ended there was a special senior relay involving fairy wings and wands. To celebrate the end of an unusual yet wonderful season, they all (including coaches) jumped in the pool and sang. And during lunch, two swimmers on the team brought ice cream and cookie cake for everyone to enjoy.
Even though this season was different from any other season before and all the schools couldn’t compete in the same pool, AES swimmers persevered and still put in all the hard work. Perhaps nothing embodies this season better than this one fact: every single swimmer swam a personal best time at MESAC.
Photos from Alan Rubin and AES swim coaches!
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