The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Students question importance of swimming in PE

Mary Keile
All students enrolled in PE meet to swim 2-3 times per week.

Reporter: Every year as the air on campus finally warms, and the swim team rolls out the lane lines, all of Woodside’s PE students are corralled into the pool for mandatory swim lessons. Despite the undeniable advantages of teaching all students to swim, the unit poses many inconveniences as well. While kids shuffle in and out of cramped showers, or sit down for their next class sopping wet, doubts begin to surface: maybe the swimming unit isn’t even worth it. 

Reporter: An obvious objective for this PE unit is to ensure that new swimmers can begin to feel comfortable in the water. These first-time swimmers found immediate value in this on-campus opportunity. Sophomore Caleb Ortiz enjoyed navigating new waters for the first time. 

Caleb Ortiz: Being able to like get in the pool and get my head under the water was… really surreal… But once you get used to it you get better so I think I did pretty well.

Reporter: However, despite the clear benefits for new students, many others struggle with being overlooked in the pool. Despite having multiple instructors present, it is fairly easy to become lost in the shuffle. Sophomore and PE student Leif Austin noticed some clear differences between the attention students need, and what they are getting. 

Leif Austin: I wouldn’t say I’m really getting much attention, but that isn’t really a concern for me. I think the kids who are struggling and aren’t very good at swimming aren’t getting enough attention.

Reporter: Unlike other field sports, students’ varying levels of experience plays a huge role in what can be taught. Teachers do their best to teach students skills that are relevant to their experience, but even then, freshman Caden Morey has observed that striking a balance is a difficult goal.

Caden Morey: The only thing they have for different skill levels is like putting certain kids in the shallow end, but other than that, nothing really.

Reporter: Leif witnessed the same issue.

Leif Austin: It’s really cold, and boring, half the class can’t swim, and the other half is people on the Woodside swim team. So you’re either super bored, or you’re struggling.

Reporter: After students leave the pool, a whole new array of challenges are set as they navigate through the rest of their day. 

Leif Austin: If I’m still wet, which often happens, it’s just harder to focus. In my backpack, often it’s wet, because I have a wet towel in there. It’s already destroyed a book.

Reporter: Many have found that working through the rest of the school day with wet hair and clothes is tedious and difficult to manage. For those like Caden in 1st period PE, in which they swim every day for about half as long as a regular class, these struggles are only amplified. 

Caden Morey: You only get in t he pool for like 20 minutes. And then you have to shower and like, get ready and it’s just like a big inconvenience.

Reporter: In addition to the disproportionate time in the pool, sophomore and PE student Judah Delaney finds frustration in the tedium of 1st period swimming. 

Judah Delaney: This is kind of influenced by me being in first period, so I have to get up every morning and swim first thing in the morning.

Reporter: The swim unit poses many challenges for all students who are required to take the class. However, swimming in the pool during class can be fun as well, as it allows for time to take a break from homework and enjoy time with friends.

Evan Usher: I think it’s pretty fun… I’ve been swimming for a while, but it’s pretty interesting to just, you know, swim around with my friends and do different kinds of swimming in my free time.

Reporter: Due to the wide range of experience levels, some students find that they enjoy being taught by their PE teachers, and they like exploring new techniques along the way. 

Leslie Pedrin: We do the backstroke, the freestyle, we do the side stroke, we do the breaststroke… And we also do a little snorkeling if we have time.  

Reporter: Many PE teachers, including Kevin Tsui, enjoy teaching the swimming unit, as they can allow students who have never swum before to gain experience in a safe, supervised environment. 

Mr. Tsui: Great to see students improve on their technique for some students who never swam before for them to get in water and get comfortable in the water. It’s a life saving activity.

Reporter: The value of learning swimming, both for the purpose of fitness and safety, is viewed as extremely important by the Woodside staff. 

Leslie Pedrin: It’s a life saving skill. If you don’t know how and you can learn for free, here at Woodside, that is awesome.

Reporter: Swimming requires students to navigate new territories, both inside and away from the pool. While students undoubtedly benefit from an often life-saving education in swimming and water safety, there are also many overlooked aspects, which kids struggle with on a daily basis. From learning unchallenging skills, to navigating class after PE class, swimming at Woodside is without a doubt a bittersweet experience. 

For KQED and The Woodside Paw Print, this is Conrad Berke, Mary Keile, and Winnie Einhorn.

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About the Contributors
Mary Keile, Staff Writer
Mary Keile is a senior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about local news, entertainment, and opinion. Mary hopes to write helpful articles for students to find practical and enjoyable. In Mary’s free time, she enjoys listening to music, cooking, volunteering, and painting.
Conrad Berke, Co-Editor in Chief
Conrad Berke is a senior and third-year journalist. He enjoys writing about sports, culture, and opinion pieces. In his free time, Conrad enjoys watching soccer games, listening to music, playing Magic: The Gathering, and spending time with friends and family.

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