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by EMaganito

Three swimming trophies with one swimming medal

I started competitively swimming in April 2017. 

Of course, at my first meet, I didn’t medal or ribbon at the time. I was there to swim. Okay, maybe I was also there for the gigantic sour kid that they were selling at the concessions stand. My first meet was in Bozeman, Montana, in the Long Course swimming pool. I got in for warm up, then went out to wait for my event. Is did 25s, so I only went half the way. I was part of the Helena Lions Swim Team (HLST).  

I first started swimming in Michigan when we stayed there for 2nd grade. It was a small community pool, and I couldn’t even get across the 25 meters. When we moved back to Helena, I decided to keep swimming. I took swimming lessons at the Capital City Health Club (CCHC). When we found out that there was a swim team, my parents signed me up and I tried out. The night before tryouts, my dad put my goggles in the washing machine. We checked out if I could still see underwater, and I could. When we went to the tryout the next day, my goggle kept filling up with water. They still allowed me to join Cubs in HLST. I had one of my favorite swim team coaches on that team. He joined us in the water whenever he was there. While he was at work, another coach would take his place and practice wasn’t as enjoyable.  

When I got in the water, I knew nobody. I didn’t recognize anyone, and it seemed as if everyone were friends. One girl asked what my name was, and I gave her the answer. She told me to remind her since she forgets things. At the next practice, a girl named Elizabeth asked me what my name was. Little did I know, she and I were going to be friends in the future. Elizabeth, who we called Betsy (no one knows why), was pretty much the counter for the whole group. She loves math and helped keep track of how much we were doing per day. Either it was a record or below the record. Our coach relied on her. It took Betsy and I a little bit of a time to know each other, and I was still not officially her friend at my first meet. That was fine with me. 

Since I am a swimmer, you must be wondering what my favorite stroke is and favorite events. My favorite stroke is either butterfly or backstroke. I like fly since I made it to my first regionals in the 100-meter fly. I like back since, I mean, I’m on my back! You get more oxygen that way. I also like it since I made it to my first zones in the 100-meter back. I also like free. My favorite event in free is a 100-meter free. My least favorite stroke is breaststroke. The event that I am best at in breast is the 200-meter breast. My favorite pool is the Bozeman, MT Swimming Center’s pool and my favorite meet that I have gone to is Western Region Zones. 

I earned an 8th place medal in Western Regionals. I earned many ribbons in Zones. My sister, Maia, who also started swimming, and I are considered the Maganito Sisters. We’ve been the fastest girls for 8-9 age group and 10 and under age group. I am going to turn 12 and I am the second fastest in the state. I hope to be 1st when this pandemic is over.  

I have swum for HLST for three years. We recently switched to the Bozeman Barracudas. We drive to swim practice. I am enjoying practice with the Barracudas more than the last swim team. My favorite coach from HLST stopped coaching when his sons stopped swimming. 

There are two different seasons in swimming. One is short course, and one is long course. Short course is when the pool is only 25 yards long and in the winter. Most long course pools are outside, making it better if long course is in the summer. Long course has a 50 meter long pool. That’s a big difference! Each pool has a red buoy on the lane line to mark the 15-meter mark each way. This is since you are only allowed to do underwater dolphin kicks until the 15-meter mark. This is because underwaters help you go faster than above on the surface and swimming. The first person to make underwaters popular is David Berkoff. He made it known as the Berkoff blastoff. He went underwater for 70 meters out of a 100-meter backstroke event. That is when officials made it clear that you are only allowed to go until the 15-meter mark. 

Meets can take you to the Olympics. First, you attend regular meets. Next, if your times meet the limits, you can go to State. State is when you compete against everyone in the state who made the cut. After state, you go to Regionals which is usually held in the Western states. Once you make the cut to Regionals, you can make it to Zones. Zones is only held during the summer, or Long Course Season. These are the meets that I have been able to get to. These are only the very low meets. You can make it to the Jr. Olympics/Age group champs, Zone championships, sectionals, futures, Jr. Nationals, National Championships/US Open, Olympic Trials, then the Olympics. 

I want to make it to the Olympics. I also want to make it to Zones again and go to the International Swimming League (ISL). Zones is my favorite meet since I was there with some of my friends in other swim teams who also made it to Zones. Zones is outside, and the paras provide you snacks and food. I made the cut to the 11-year-old Regionals in Zones when I was 10. My friends from Washington also came and watched me swim.  














Three swimming trophies with one swimming medal




















Helena | Montana | United States