As COVID-19 restrictions ease, local students and their families are being welcomed back to swimming carnivals.
After feeling a little like ‘fish out of water’ in 2020, students were keen to dive back into competitive swimming at the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Hills Zone Swimming Carnival held at Mount Druitt Swimming Centre.
Year 6 student Shelby Buchardt from St Matthews Primary Windsor, who dreams of making the Olympics one day, won the Open Girls 100m freestyle after finishing well out of the placings in 2020.
“Last year was so chaotic,” Shelby said. “To be here - things are slowly starting to feel normal again.”
Shelby thought it was great to have her mum Carol Jack at the carnival to support her too.
“It’s great,” Carol said. “Absolutely fantastic to see all the parents here, despite the fact that we have to be socially distanced of course.”
Mum Jennifer Ison feels that COVID-19 provided opportunities for students to grow in resilience. At this year’s Zone Carnival, her son William won the Open Boys 100m freestyle and dreams of making the Australian national titles in the future.
“I really like Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps and I look forward to hopefully doing well like them one day,” William said.
“We talk to William about famous swimmers like Michael Phelps and how he had to go through lots of highs and lows to achieve what he did and that he will have to go through similar experiences and that applies to other parts of his life also,” Jennifer said. “You’ve got to pick yourself up and be resilient.”
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Primary Sports Coordinator Margaret Thornton agrees that sports are a great learning experience.
“We see the swimming pool as being very similar to the classroom whereby students bring all those values of resilience, learning to work with others, listening to teachers,” Margaret said.
Margaret is really excited for all the children who had the opportunity to participate in the event, as well as being able to welcome parents back to the poolside through adherence to strict COVID-19 requirements.
“It took a big effort to achieve that but it was really important we did our best to make that happen,” Margaret said. “We’re really proud of that.”