Spotlight on SHEDI
Edgemont swimmers don’t swim for Edgemont. The girls swim for SHEDI, a combination of swimmers from Sleepy Hollow, Hastings, Edgemont, and Irvington. Instead of Edgemont’s usual blue and white, SHEDI’s colors are black and pink.
Unfortunately, Edgemont doesn’t have a secret pool on the roof or underneath the fields. (Sorry, I had to squash those rumors). So, where do the swimmers practice? Their practices take place at the EF International School of English’s pool in Tarrytown.
Florence Millet, one of the seniors on our team, is celebrating her 4th year on SHEDI. Anna Mello, another senior, has been on SHEDI for 3 years. Although each is a freshman, Jonna Schwarz is in her first year of SHEDI, Ashley Barlow is in her second year, and Manon Jadot in her third. As of now, there are only two Juniors from Edgemont and one Sophomore (me!).
I interviewed Ms. Saracino, a Physical Education and CPR teacher who doubles as one of our three swim coaches, along with other Shedi participants about their experience on the team.
What’s your favorite thing about practice?
Florence: My favorite thing about practice is the people. Everyone is very kind and it has a “we are in it together” attitude when no one wants to get in the water.
Anna: Since I swim on both the school and club team, I really enjoy swimming with my school friends. I also enjoy the mental challenge because it is a break from the mental challenges I deal with throughout the school day. Lastly, I enjoy the quiet when underwater.
Ashley: My favorite thing about practice is being able to get to know some girls from Edgemont and other schools that I probably wouldn't know if I didn't swim.
What is your least favorite thing about swimming?
Florence: My least favorite thing is the commute to practice and the echo in the pool.
Anna: My least favorite part of swimming is that if you take a few days off and try and get back into swimming you almost have to start over with your progress.
What sets swimming apart from other school sports?
Florence: Swimming is an individual and a team sport. You push yourself to get the best times, while also pushing yourself for the team victory.
Jonna: [Swimming] is not something you “play” on the ground, and there are more than two schools involved at each meet.
Ashley: The thing that sets swimming apart from other sports is that even though it is an individual sport everyone still works together to help your team win. You also work together to get through hard sets during practice.
Ms. Saracino: Swimming has always been my go-to sport. I love the feeling of being completely immersed in water; swimming where you can see nothing but water; and the open mind and relaxation that comes over you while you are in the water.
What is your opinion on SHEDI being made up of several schools?
Florence: I like that SHEDI is several schools combined, because you meet a lot of people who you normally wouldn't.
Jonna: [SHEDI is] nice because you can meet many new people, but you don’t have specific school merch that you can represent the school with.
Ashley: I like that SHEDI is several schools combined because we wouldn't have enough swimmers with just Edgemont, and it's nice to get to know other people from other schools.
Manon: I think that SHEDI is great as a combination with other schools. The team wouldn't be the same without the other schools.
Ms. Saracino: I love the combined team! Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see Edgemont stand on their own two feet and have a team of their own, but there is something so special about all the schools coming together to compete as one. There are so many great personalities and leaders that it really makes coaching fun!!
Is it hard for you to get to practice in terms of traffic?
Florence: It is a pain to get to practice, since it is 15 minutes without traffic, 20-30 with. Especially before I had my drivers license the commute was even more painful.
Anna: It takes me longer than it should to get to practice because of how long it takes me to get out of the senior lot.
Ashley: It is hard to get to practice on time because of traffic so I am often late.
Manon: I think that traffic is an issue in terms of getting to practice, considering how short of a time we have to get there.
Is it disappointing when there is low turn-out in the stands for meets?
Florence: Low turnout is disappointing, however, it is understandable because swimming is pretty boring and the meets are far away.
Anna: It is sad to see no fans at meets especially when compared to football and soccer. Though it is upsetting, it is understandable since attending meets is inconvenient due to the distance.
Ashley: I don't really mind when there aren't too many people in the stands because I understand that where we swim is far away from our school.
Manon: Yes, sometimes it is disappointing that there aren't a lot of spectators. However, being with your friends and focusing on getting new PRs (personal records) distracts me from that.
Ms. Saracino: It definitely disappoints me for the kids. I remember swimming in High School and having friends come to the meet and how exciting it was (I always swam my fastest in this case). Who doesn't want an opportunity to show off what they are good at? I want that for my swimmers. I want people to care enough about them that they know how much coming to support them means to them. It gives them an internal hug where they know someone cares enough to go out of their way to support them.
If we could, would you prefer having a pool at Edgemont?
Anna: I would love a pool at Edgemont because it would make getting to practice much easier and both attract more swimmers and fans.
Ashley: If Edgemont could get a pool, I would prefer that because it would be so much easier to get to practice and wouldn't require my parents having to drive me so far to get to practice. I would also be on time to practice and more people would be able to come to our meets because it's right on campus.
What is your background and current relationship with swimming?
Ms. Saracino: I grew up swimming for both Middies (now Empire) and Badger locally, as well as Rye High School. I played Lacrosse and swam at Springfield College and was a 7-time All-American for swimming. I ventured into Open Water swimming after Grad School and I am currently the 45th person in the world to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water swimming. I swam around Manhattan, Catalina Island to San Pedro, CA and the English Channel. I always wanted to come back and coach High School swimming in Section 1. I had such amazing memories and made such great friends that I wanted to help others experience the same.
What are some challenges you have faced while coaching swimming?
Ms. Saracino: There are challenges in everything you do; it is what you make of them! My biggest challenges have also been some of my biggest successes. For example, trying to get through to the swimmers that they can complete any goal they set with hard work, determination and dedication to that goal. Some swimmers have a hard time trusting that mindset but, when they do and when they believe in themselves, they are impossible to stop. That is why we have 10 High School All-Americans (top 100 in the Country).
Ms. Saracino would like to say to everyone reading: I love my job, and I love being a part of sharing these competitive moments with my swimmers! If you have read this far into the article and have a friend who swims on the High School swim team, please consider coming out to support them at one of our home meets. Girls swim at EF International, 100 Marymount Ave, Tarrytown NY and Boys swim at Ardsley Middle School. We would love to see you out there!! It is important to shed light on sports that may not get the same recognition as the more popular activities. Go SHEDI!