Water sports: students beat summer heat


Courtesy of Emma Hecht

Hecht spends much of her free time in the water, as a swimmer, a surfer and a lifeguard.

Sarah McNey

Staying cool during the summer can be a challenge, especially on the Jersey Shore. Several CHS students have found a way to beat the heat: water sports.

Swimming is a popular sport among high schoolers, with over 300,000 participants in the country, according to a 2015 survey from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Junior Emma Hecht of Wall started swimming competitively in the second grade, and swims for both Wall High School and the Monmouth Barracudas. Hecht said she swims because it relieves stress.

“I could have an awful day at school and go into practice with a nasty attitude and come out of practice like a completely different and positive person,” Hecht said.

Junior Will Dean of Middletown has also been swimming since elementary school, and competes for the Red Bank YMCA and Middletown South High School. Dean said he enjoys the sport because he gets to compete with himself.

“Your successes or failures are a reflection of the effort you put in,” Dean said.

Sophomore Bella Reilly of Avon-by-the-Sea spends her summer days surfing with friends. Though the sport is daunting for some, Reilly said she feels comfortable on a surfboard.

“I feel more safe in the ocean on a board than swimming in the water,” Reilly said.

Hecht also surfs, and plans to join the Wall High School surfing team in the fall.

“Being in the ocean is my absolute favorite thing to do,” Hecht said. “Having a sport that allows you to sit in the ocean all day is amazing.”

As the new school year approaches, both Dean and Hecht agree that juggling a water sport and school work is no easy task. But Hecht is prepared to handle her busy schedule, and said that swimming helped improve her time management and discipline.

The high school swimming season typically begins in early November, according to shoreconferencenj.org.