The person makes the suit

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(Gibbons far left)

Vivian Landis

Teresa Gibbons, 12, has just completed her last swim season. After being on the swim team all four years of high school, Gibbons has learned many lessons and grown tremendously as an athlete. 

Gibbons started swimming competitively in middle school. Although she would sometimes join summer league in elementary school, she didn’t view that as anything more than a fun summer activity.  

“I really started getting, I guess kind of good in middle school and I just kind of continued,” said Gibbons.  

Gibbons recalls joining the swim team her freshman year just for fun, she didn’t consider herself to be a very serious swimmer. That was until she saw her competitors. 

“I realized how competitive and how fast the high school swimmers are,” stated Gibbons. 

Throughout all four of her seasons, Gibbons has improved greatly. Not only did she drop time in her events, she also began finding success in new strokes.   

“Freshman year I didn’t even think I could complete a 100 fly like consistently, and now it’s something I swim at every meet,” said Gibbons. 

One of Gibbons’ proudest moments happened during her sophomore season at a swim meet at Lewis Central. It was the first time she had swam her leg of the 200-freestyle relay in 27 seconds.  

Gibbons and her fellow teammate Vienne Kemper, 12, went into the locker room and happy cried to themselves all while eating dried mangoes. It was the first time that Gibbons considered herself to be a good swimmer. 

“I just realized I do like swimming when I can progress,” said Gibbons. 

Now as a senior, Gibbons is sure of her abilities. She sees herself as a worthy competitor.  

“I can confidently say I would be able to race every event minus breaststroke, because I’m not a breaststroker. I think freshman year I just didn’t really think I was able to do anything but now I think I’m a pretty strong swimmer,” said Gibbons. 

Throughout all her seasons, Gibbons has always been able to turn to her coach Sean Froemming. He has given her countless pieces of advice over the past four years.  

“He always says the suit doesn’t make you, the person makes the suit work,” said Gibbons. 

Gibbons keeps the mentality that putting in hard work gets out good results. She’s aware that she is responsible for her own success. She’s confident in the fact that all her hard work and practice will pay off in the end.  

Froemming is also good at clearing Gibbons’ head and letting her relax. He made Gibbons realize that she had to balance her physical and mental health in order to compete well.  

“Swimming is a good outlet for my mind. I kind of realized that I have to have the right mentality to do good. It did make me a lot more aware of my mental health. I think that’s a really big thing to keep your mind fresh,” said Gibbons. 

Often Gibbons finds herself getting nervous before she must swim in her events. To calm her nerves, she often talks to her coaches or teammates right before her race. However, Gibbons has more than one strategy in how she deals with her stress. 

“I like dancing behind the blocks because it just releases the little bit of tension that I have,” said Gibbons. 

The current swim season was truly incomparable to all the previous. Because of COVID-19, Gibbons was unsure of whether she would join swim team. She was skeptical about going back to school, but she knew is she stayed fully remote she would not be able to participate in any sports. 

“I guess I had to choose between swimming and staying home. That really was kind of difficult for me to choose,” said Gibbons. 

The season had to be altered in many ways in order to maintain everyone’s safety. To cut down on interactions, dryland and morning practices were not made available to the swimmers.  

“I guess it kind of hindered my progress cause I would like show up to every dryland, every conditioning, every morning practice, and that really did help me a lot with my technique and my strength and this year I didn’t have conditioning. In the beginning of the season in November the last time I had swam seriously was at State last year,” stated Gibbons.  

When at practice the team tries to stay as distanced as possible in the pool and are always wearing their masks while out of the water. It’s clear that the whole team is doing their part to keep each other safe.  

“When the swim season started, I only went to school when I had it and I didn’t go anywhere else. I really just wanted to keep my family and my teammates safe,” said Gibbons.  

Swim meets also looked extremely different this year. Seeing that there are no spectators allowed, the team must bring their own enthusiasm.  

“We do only have five girls and it’s really difficult to get us going because there’s like nobody to hype us up,” stated Gibbons.  

Despite all the changes that have been made to this season Gibbons claims that the team is as close as ever. All the new circumstances and restrictions allowed the team to connect in a new way. 

“The group of girls that we got right now, I love all of them and I think if we did have a bigger team with less restrictions, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten as close as I did with them,” said Gibbons.  

Despite all the hardships of this season the team has faced, they managed to find great success. Thirteen out of seventeen swimmers attended state this year. 

While at State Gibbons swam fly in the medley relay and the third leg of the 200-freestyle relay. Gibbons had hoped to swim the fly in 27 seconds and her leg of the relay in 26 seconds.  

“It’d just be really nice to have my one last race be like the best of my high school career,” said Gibbons. 

Gibbons swam at state on Friday, February 26. Although she didn’t drop time in her events, Gibbons is still extremely proud of herself. 

“I don’t think I did too bad, I mean I think I did do the best that I had this season. It’s alright because I had fun,” said Gibbons.