Nora Magers finds her passion through FHC’s Girls Swim and Dive Team

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A picture of Nora Magers swimming during her swim meet.

For the past eight years, freshman Nora Magers has been making repetitive strokes back and forth for the FHC Girls Swim and Dive Team. Nora started swimming when her mom–who has been swimming since she was Nora’s age—encouraged her to in the first grade.

Nora knows that in order to have a successful team, she must also have a good coach to help lead. When Nora was on a team in middle school before she moved, she recalled a moment when she didn’t have a great coach to help bring the team closer together. 

“I had a coach in the past before I moved to [Grand Rapids] who would pick favorites,” Nora said. “If you weren’t his favorite, he wouldn’t pay attention to you, and you wouldn’t know how to correct something you were doing wrong.”

From this experience, if there’s anything Nora has learned, it’s that working together and having conversations are equally important when being a part of a team. Communication is most important when it comes to swimming with your​​ peers, along with learning to not give up and learning to put in all your effort. 

Without communication, it is more likely to be a disconnect, and it will make it more difficult to not bump into other swimmers. Nora can recall too many times where she has faced the struggle of sharing lanes with other swimmers 

“You have to share lanes because there is only a certain amount,” Nora said. “You have to communicate with people in your lane to figure out the best way to run things in your lane. If someone is faster than you and going behind you, then you have to let them go in front of you.”

Nora hopes to continue swimming all throughout high school and has found that she enjoys advocating for others. The satisfaction she gains from seeing other people succeed makes her happy in knowing that she was able to help them. 

Don’t give up because it might seem really hard at the moment, but I promise; it will get better.”

— Nora Magers

“You have to be a leader on your team,” Nora said, “especially with the middle school swim team, there are some people that haven’t swam before. My coach asked me and a couple [of] other girls to step up and help some of those girls during their first meet.”

Since Nora has moved up to the high school level, the swim team has become a lot more competitive–something that not only motivates Nora to try harder, but also makes the sport more fun to be a part of. 

Although swimming is a team sport, everyone competes by themselves to gain the most points for their team. 

“With my club team,” Nora said, “there are some people that will try and do anything to win, even if you have to beat people on your team. [Competition] motivates me [during] races. I can see someone in the corner of my eye, and I’ll try to go faster so that I can do better.”

But with any sport, there are always downsides. As someone who is a night owl, Nora often finds herself facing the struggle of having to wake up early to attend swim practice in the morning. Swimming, along with six hours of school during the weekdays, has not made it easy for her to create a balance between the two, but it has taught Nora how to manage her time more efficiently, despite how long the swim meets can be. 

“My sleep schedule is all over the place,” Nora said. “I wake up early to go to practice, [and] by the end of the day, I [am] so tired that most days it’s hard to stay awake at night and do my homework. But as the season went on, I learned to manage my time better.”

Throughout the course of the eight years that Nora has been doing swimming lessons, the journey hasn’t been easy. Swimming has made Nora realize that practice really does make perfect. In order to see results, she has to put in the work. 

“Don’t give up because it might seem really hard at the moment,” Nora said. “I promise; it will get better. Once you hit a certain point, it’s the best [feeling].”