Athlete of the Issue: Emily Bukowski ’22

Emily Bukowski is a four-year senior and captain of the Girls Varsity Swim team. In the spring, Bukowski also rows on the Varsity Rowing team. Teammate Mehar Bhasin ’23 said, “Emily has always been a great mentor, looking out for everyone and going out of her way to make sure each team member feels seen and supported. She’s always there for the team and brings a positive energy to every practice.”

What got you into swimming?

I started swimming when I was seven years old. My parents pushed me to swim in the beginning because they didn’t know how to swim. It also serves as an outlet for me at times – whether to combat stress, or just to get a workout in. I really enjoy having a goal, being competitive, and working towards that goal. It makes the countless hours swimming and looking at a line at the bottom of the pool worth it. 

How do you think Hotchkiss has helped you improve as a swimmer? 

I’ve been very grateful for the facilities, the coaches, and the trainers, specifically Ms. Michelle Repass, Coach Brodie Quinn ’10, and Coach Victoria McGee. There’s not a lot of places other than boarding school where you’re able to do a lot of cross training. I have had the opportunity to try other sports such as rowing and cross country. I’ve also worked with the strength coach, which has definitely contributed a lot to my training and has made me a better, more experienced athlete.

What are some of your favorite moments with the Girls Varsity Swim Team?

One of my favorite moments was New Englands in my Lower Mid year right before Spring Break. The swim team was on campus and the women’s 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay broke the school record. It was an incredible moment because we worked so hard for it – getting to experience that kind of joy with your team is very exciting. I hope it stays with me forever. 

What is your favorite part about the team?

Definitely my teammates. We’re a really close team and for the past three years the swim team has been my family. Team dinners are always very special to me, we’ve spent hours just sitting in the dining hall to bond with each other. I really enjoy working with such passionate and hardworking women. 

What challenges have you faced this year?

Swimming is a sport where it’s very difficult to get back into shape after a long period of break. With COVID and the longer winter break, it was very difficult for everyone to return to the season, but we’ve all been working hard and getting back into it. 

Why do you love swimming?

I love swimming because it’s a very difficult sport mentally and physically. It’s something that is difficult to give up, especially all the memories you make. After you swim, the feeling of success and the few moments of glory make all the hard work worth it. Being able to experience those moments keeps me going and is what I love about swimming. 

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

We have a pretty young team so being able to help the team improve and enjoy the sport is very important to me. I hope we get some wins and place top 3 in the Founder’s League.

What advice can you give to other swimmers?

Hotchkiss has a lot of resources. Take advantage of trying new things, like different sports and activities. Take advantage of the gym, the facilities, and the coaches because they’re all very helpful and work very hard to make us better athletes.