Parkdale Swimming Team finishes strong season after pandemic-caused hiatus


While we do not have a swimming pool at Parkdale, that’s never stopped our Swimming Team from doing big things, and they’re truly putting in effort this year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the virtual learning that came with it, there was not much activity in high school sports last year, including with the Swimming Team.

Since COVID-19 restricted the team from practicing as well as going to matches during this school year, they haven’t had much time in action. So far the swimming team of 2021-2022 have only had three matches. However, the players have been making records.

Out of these three matches, Junior Michael Bailey has accomplished the 50 yard race in 27 seconds twice, as well as the 100 yard breaststroke.  Sophomore Adam Foley won the 200 yard individual medley two times, and 100 yard freestyle twice as well. As for freshman Sierra Cullum, she won a 100 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle, and a 100 yard backstroke twice. 

On Saturday, Feb. 12, the swimming team went to the PGCPS Championship. Bailey made the 100 yard breaststroke PR of 1:18 seconds. Foley did a 100 yard freestyle PR of 1:05 seconds. Cullum did a 100 yard backstroke PR of 1:29. 

“Our team has been so enthusiastic and committed. Everyone does their best, especially at swim meets. I am really grateful to have such an awesome group of people to swim with. We cheer each other on during races and push each other to do better and it’s really just a great environment.

— Sierra Cullum, freshman swimmer

An issue that the swimming team has been having in their meets is having enough players participating. 

“[…] You need four girls to do one relay and four boys to do [one] relay, and we don’t have that many girls [or] boys, so other schools [automatically get] 1st place in relay races,” Cullum explained.

Senior Kadijah Conteh (middle) had a PR in the 100 yard freestyle in her final meet as a Parkdale swimmer.

While other schools have been able to fulfill the participation requirement, Parkdale’s low number of swimmers isn’t uncommon. A study conducted by The National Federation of State High School Associations in 2018-2019 found that in Maryland, only 1,795 high school students participate in swimming during high school, and there are only 109 swimming teams in the whole state. As reference, according to the Maryland Public Schools Summary Report, there were roughly 403,000 secondary school students enrolled in Maryland schools.

However, for Cullum, swimming has always been a fun sport despite it not being as popular as others.

“​​Swimming has not been that widely talked about around the school like basketball and football, which does sometimes make us feel […] invisible,” said Cullum. “But in the end, we all have fun together doing something […] we love doing, whether it’s known by the rest of the school or not.”