This winter, Gill offered students in grades 5-8 the opportunity to join its first-ever Middle School swim team.
“Things can definitely be a little more challenging without a “home” pool,” admitted head coach Nolan Silbernagel. “Our pool time was a bit limited this year, but with a great group of kids, dedicated parents, and strong support from the school, we made it work. We were very fortunate to have all of that for the inaugural season.”
Members of the team practiced for an hour at the Somerville YMCA on Thursdays and an hour at Raritan Valley Community College on Saturdays. The main focus of the program was to teach proper swim-meet etiquette, improve stroke technique, and increase endurance.
“We had a wide range of swimmers this year,” said Silbernagel. “Some kids are year-round club swimmers and are extremely talented, and we also had some beginners. Regardless of their backgrounds, everyone improved significantly over the season and were phenomenal teammates to one another, so I could not be more proud of their effort.”
Gill competed in two dual meets in January against Wardlaw-Hartridge and Newark Academy. Despite only training twice a week, the young athletes performed well against tough competition and now know what to expect as a swim meet. The Knights will close out their season on February 8 at the Jay Levin Memorial Middle School Swim Invitational.
“Swimming is an incredible sport that teaches the values of hard work and dedication, and it also creates friendships and memories that can last a lifetime,” said Silbernagel. “The hope is the kids had a great time, will want to increase their involvement in the sport, and be prepared for the varsity level when they reach the Upper School.”
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.