In Brief: Swim Meets Return


Margo Donohue ’22

Rahul Kalavagunta ’22 swims the 100 yard butterfly.

For the first time since March of 2020, swimmers competed in in-person meets this past Saturday, January 22. Girls Varsity Swimming & Diving took on Greenwich Academy and Boys Varsity Swimming competed with the Brunswick School in the Hixon Pool.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, swimmers have not been able to compete against other schools in-person. For the 2020-2021 season, all meets were virtual. The school’s swimmers participated in time trials in Hixon before sharing results with the competing team. The virtual format of the meets made for an unusual swimming environment. One of the captains, Rahul Kalavagunta ’22, said, “The energy of competing in-person is a completely different experience. It makes us all work harder and swim faster.”

Both teams faced many challenges in their return to regular competition. The boys’ team was missing six swimmers, who were all either contact-traced or recovering from COVID. Captain Carter Levine ’22 said, “Missing some of our strongest swimmers against one of our toughest opponents was disappointing, but getting the chance to compete again after nearly two years of constant work and effort has really helped to solidify us as a team and reaffirm our love for the sport.” 

One exciting outcome of the meet was the impressive performance from James Yae ’23. He beat his own personal record, swimming a low 1:01 in the 100 breast; his time is the 4th fastest in school history. In addition, Saturday marked the first meet at the school for many Preps and Lower Mids on the team, including Oliver Johnson ’25, who also beat his personal record in multiple events. 

Though both of the school’s teams lost, the energy of in-person competition has invigorated the team to keep trying their best. Boys Varsity Swimming Coach Keith Moon said, “I haven’t felt that alive at Hotchkiss in almost two years. We had gone 685 days without official competition, a level of patience I never imagined we would have to endure. We faced an exceptionally good Brunswick team, but it was exciting to be in all the races. Everyone was excited just to move forward, finally.” 

Both teams will face off against Loomis Chaffee on Saturday, January 29.