Family atmosphere for Stratford swim team

Members of Stratford’s swim team (front row) are: Evita Shein, Sarah Shein, Michelle Polanco and Ally Ingersoll; (second row) Danyere Francis, Arabella Gockley, Emily Brennan, Lilly Varvella, Claire Noccioli, Leah Foito, Ceili Roberts and Dominick Summa.

Team members can become like children to their coaches and siblings to each other. The team setting makes for a family-like atmosphere in many ways.

For Stratford High’s girls swim team, it is very much a family situation, including in the literal sense.

The Red Devils’ roster includes coach Laura Roberts and daughter Ceili Roberts, Ceili’s cousin Emily Brennan, and twin sisters Evita and Sarah Shein.

Those swimmers comprise about half of the nine-athlete roster.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Ceili, a sophomore. “Since there are only nine of us we’re really closer now. It’s really cool to get to know everyone.”

A lot of teenagers might not want their parents coaching them, but it’s fine with Ceili.

“She already knows me very well so she knows what I’m capable of,” Ceili said. “And having my cousin Emily on the team is super fun. We have grown up with each other and getting to swim alongside her is something I’m really grateful for.

“Overall, having family on the team is pretty cool. My mom and I tend to talk about swimming a lot at home but honestly, though, I probably would talk about it just as much even if she wasn’t the coach.

“Swimming is something I enjoy doing, and I love discussing the sport with literally anyone. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while now, so it’s really important to me.”

While there are advantages to being on a such a close-knit, small squad, it comes with some obstacles. The Red Devils are outnumbered significantly by their opponents and Stratford forfeits points due to not being able to fill all of the relays.

“The meets are normally a little challenging just because there are only nine of us,” sophomore Leah Foito said. “We use each other, and the other team, as motivation to try to get as close to winning as possible.”

“It’s hard with a small team, but we all work together,” junior Claire Noccioli added.

Laura Roberts says the team has a little fun with the fact she has three titles: Coach Laura, Aunt Laura and Mom.

“They support each other. They’re a great group of girls,” the coach said.

Evita Shein said: “With our team as small as it is, even though we can’t win meets we still have lots of fun. The small size of the team really makes the team feel like a family to me in a way none of my other teams have. We get to know everyone better than if the team were bigger.”

Brennan, a sophomore, said: “I like it a lot. They’re like my sisters. I’m so close to them.”

Of course, freshmen Evita and Sarah Shein are actual siblings. Having each other not only provides family familiarity, but also an added level of competition.

“It’s fun to compete against Evita,” Sarah said. “It sets sort of a standard you’re always trying to beat, kind of like racing yourself, especially since we’ve been swimming for the same time and we’ve been against each other for years.

“Since the team only has nine people, it’s like a family and it’s always great to know upperclassmen who can help you not just in swimming, but in school too.”

Evita said: “I think it’s fun to practice with my twin sister. It gives us something to talk about and it’s fun to compete with her. I also realized that when we race each other, we get better times than if we were racing anyone else.”

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Stratford Star, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress