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The Lakers are looking ahead to the pool this winter

Southwest Boys’ Swim Team is preparing for a busy season this year with Southwest Student Gus Rudnick (‘25), Head Coach Chris Aarseth, and Graham Graydon (‘26) shared their thoughts
Lakers pose wearing their medals at the end of last season in March 2023. Right to Left: Gus Rudnick, Ethan Jacobson, Ethan Holm, and Jackson Jaglo.
Lakers pose wearing their medals at the end of last season in March 2023. Right to Left: Gus Rudnick, Ethan Jacobson, Ethan Holm, and Jackson Jaglo.

The Southwest Boys’ Swim Team has some optimism surrounding its squad for this upcoming season. As the start of the season drags closer and closer, swimmers are preparing and most importantly recruiting. As of now, nine new swimmers have joined the team so far and that number may continue to rise. The Navigator spoke to Swimming Captain Gus Rudnick (‘25), Head Coach Chris Aarseth, and Southwest Swimmer Graham Grayson (‘26) 

Swimming Captain Gus Rudenick

Q: What expectations do you have for yourself for this upcoming season?

A: To be a good captain for my team this year,  to host captain practices to help everyone get better, and get faster. For example, improve my 50 freestyle to under 23 seconds.

Q: How do you expect your role to change this year after being named captain of the Southwest Swim Team? 

A: Involving much more planning and organization to get people working hard. My goal is to get people to get better and work much harder.

Q: Why do you think more people should consider joining the Southwest Swim Team?

A: Swimming is a whole lotta fun, it gets you in great shape and we have great team spirit here. There are lots of fun team activities, parties, and really fun practices, and it’s great for cross-training for another sport.

Southwest Swimming Coach Chris Aarseth

Q: What is your goal for the team this season? 

A: We’ve got a great group of students/athletes, and we are super excited.  We graduated 15 seniors last year which accounted for a total of 132 points at our section meet last year.  So, our main goal is to gain some experience for some of our younger team members.  We are also promoting cohesion and improved teamwork throughout practice.  I’m a firm believer that the best teams hold each other accountable and understand that they are involved in something bigger than themselves.  This also in my opinion leads to a better overall experience.  

Q: What do you need to do to help the team reach this goal? 

A: We constantly talk about best effort not necessarily best results.  In any sport that involves a clock or a defined finish time a lot of people want to judge just by that time and that doesn’t completely show all of the process that goes into getting to a desired goal.  The clock doesn’t define who you are or the work you’ve done or are doing.  We have a saying that we’ve used around here and it’s TTP “Trust The Process.”  Trusting in the process means there are going to be speed bumps, where things aren’t going to go as planned but not to view those situations as roadblocks.  It takes a solid best effort daily to get past those things and to learn from them, this promotes growth. Our group this year is doing a great job of controlling the controllables and not worrying about things we can’t control.

Q: Why should more Southwest students consider joining the swim team? 

A: On top of being one of the full-body cardio workouts is that our team operates as a family.  We have a variety of ability levels and personalities on our team.  The one thing that stands out is that they are welcoming to everyone and support each other.  Swimming and diving as a sport has a possible of 12 events in its competition so there is a spot for everyone.  This includes the beginner or someone who is striving for a state championship.  I’ve been fortunate and blessed to coach a lot of great kids and I can tell you everyone remembers one thing when they left our program and that is how they were empowered to control their destiny within the sport. Some people say competitive athletics builds character, but I think it reveals character.  Showing up and putting the work in day after day will test you.  It’s not always easy.  Our team lifts each other to help bring out the best in each individual.  

Q: What are you most looking forward to for this season? 

A: The best part of our season is when we are near our section and state meet.  We taper off our workload to help the body rest to prepare itself for fast racing.  Feeling the excitement and energy in the air and seeing it in the water is so satisfying.  Knowing that all that work during the season is about to come to fruition is the best feeling.  I have a saying “It comes to those who work, not those who wish.”  Once we get to our championship meets, watching the confidence of our kids behind the starting blocks or on the diving board fills my soul up.  To know and trust that you’ve put all the work in is such a statement to your opponent.  Those are the most satisfying times of the season for me.  

Q: What would you say is the hardest stroke for new swimmers to learn? 

A: Wow,  that’s a great question.  I would say probably the most intimidating stroke is the butterfly.  There is a lot of timing that goes into butterflies.  Synchronizing all the movements, staying coordinated, and providing strength as well as endurance goes into the fly.  The three are something to think about on the fly—ange, rhythm, and relaxation.  Yes, there is a time to relax and let your natural body momentum take over.  Learning all of that takes time and consistent effort which is doable but just requires a bit more.

Southwest Swimmer Graham Graydon (’26)

Q: Is this your first year swimming for Southwest?

A: This is going to be my third year swimming for Southwest, I started in eighth grade.

Q: What are your expectations for this upcoming season?

A: I’m expecting a much better team than last year. We have several people joining JV this year and we’re hopefully going to have a much better split between Varsity and Junior varsity. I’m also expecting a JV team for sections. For Varsity, I’m hoping that we place better at sections than last year. I’m hoping to improve my 500-yard free. I was focusing on my shorter swim like the 200 last year, but I’d like to focus more on distance. I’m expecting to swim at 5:30 in that event.

Q: What is your favorite swimming stroke? Why?

A: My favorite stroke is freestyle. It’s the stroke that I by far swim the most, and because my favorite events are free. I like that it’s also the fastest.

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About the Contributor
Kingston Brooks
Kingston Brooks, Statistician
Kingston  is a junior at Southwest and this is his first year with The Navigator. He is very excited to take up the role as the statistician and help people with their work. Kingston really enjoys sports which is why he plays Ultimate Frisbee for the Southwest team in addition he is also an avid cook. 

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