An Honest Opinion on the Return of the Swim Unit and Changing for Gym Class

Photo courtesy of Rick Barrett on

Grace Harrigan, Staff Writer

Changing for gym this year has become mandatory as our school begins its return back to normalcy. For the past two years students were not permitted to enter the locker rooms and changing for gym class was not required nor encouraged. Unfortunately this year it is compulsory to change for gym. The locker rooms are back to being crowded with students dreading and complaining about running the pacer fitness test while struggling to open their gym locker in time before the bell rings.
While I’m thrilled that our school is going back to its normal ways, I absolutely despise changing for gym. Trying to slide jeans over converse because you’re too lazy to untie them makes me break a sweat more than our actual gym class activities. I haven’t changed for a gym class since 9th grade and having to do it again during my senior year is definitely the most atrocious part of my day.
Along with this change, the sophomore class is the first class in 2 years to have a mandatory swim unit. I am delighted that I missed out on this unit. From my perspective, no sophomore is thrilled about this new requirement, specifically considering how the current juniors and seniors were able to escape it due to covid protocols.
For another perspective on this issue I interviewed sophomore Hope Hahn on her opinions about this swim unit.
G- “Do you feel like this should be a mandatory unit/ do you already know how to swim?”
H- “I don’t think this should be a mandatory unit and yes.”
G- “Are you upset that you are the first sophomore class to have to swim?”
H-”I am extremely upset about it.”
G- “Are you comfortable with having to swim in this school?”
H- “No not at all”
Finally, I asked Hope how likely on a scale of 1-10 she was to forge a signature and note to allow her to avoid and escape the swim unit. She responded with 10/10, illustrating how sophomores despise the idea of swimming for a gym unit.
I thankfully never had to take part in this unit but I thought it would be interesting to interview a past student who had to swim before the pandemic.
I interviewed 2022 senior Nicole Matthews to look at another perspective of what the swim unit was like.
G- “What was the dress code for the unit?”
NM-” Some people chose to wear bathing suits but most girls wore spandex, sports bras and baggy t-shirts.”
G- “How long were you guys given to change before your next class?”
NM-”10 minutes”
G-” What did this unit consist of?”
NM-” It really depended on the teacher but it was a mix of games, safety instruction, learning to dive and treading water.”
Even though all sophomore classes were split up into two groups, boys and girls, I wondered if this course caused unnecessary anxiety and even resulted in various insecurities. Nicole responded to this question by explaining, “The class was so normalized and everyone just wanted to get it over with therefore I never really got anxiety over it, but girls would swim in baggy t-shirts to feel more comfortable.”
I can’t help but wonder if anything will change now that we had 2 years in between the last classes required to complete the swim unit. Will they make any other junior or senior classes take it or make it an option?
All jokes and sarcasm aside, I do believe that the swim unit certainly has benefits when it comes to learning how to tread water and swim, especially if you never had the opportunity to learn, prior to the class. Swimming is a crucial skill and we are fortunate to have a pool and a course designed to teach people the basics. I am pleased our school is beginning to move forward and return to how it was prior to the pandemic, however I can confidently say that the swim unit was never missed, not for even a moment.