Story behind the Latitude swim team


First practice. Photo Credit: Matthew Mahowald

Oakley Briskman, Editor in Chief

I have been swimming since I was two years old. I took swimming lessons for six years and joined a swim team right before my eighth birthday. I was unsure about joining a competitive team, but after adapting to the more difficult practices I came to love it. I feel grateful to have always had positive experiences with water and to be able to feel so comfortable in it. This story is about how and why I started the Latitude swim team.

When I joined Latitude in 2020, there were very few sports teams. However, as students noticed the lack of sports at Latitude they were given opportunities to create the teams they wanted to have at school. This inspired me to start a swim team. I reached out to my computer science teacher, Matthew Mahowald. Mr. Matt, who competitively swam and played water polo, told me he was interested in supporting me and coaching the team. He was excited about the idea and we started to make it happen. 

First, we made a list of all the things we needed: people, a pool, transportation, and a league to participate in. At the beginning of the school year, I sent out a survey asking about interest and exposure to swimming. This was to get a sense of where students were with respect to swimming. Surveying felt important to me because there can be a lot of reasons that students may feel uncomfortable when it comes to this sport and I wanted to be aware of them. As I gathered a list of people, I started to look for a pool. Luckily, I was able to secure lanes at Mills College. 

We got a good amount of people together and had our first practice on Monday, Feb. 13th. We are currently reaching out to coaches in the OAL, Oakland Athletic League, as we get the team off the ground. Although all of Latitude’s other sports teams are in the charter league, no other schools within the league have swim teams. This is why we are seeing if it is possible to participate in a different league.

In the future, we would love to get our team gear including swimsuits and swim caps. The ultimate goal is to partner with Swim Good, a clothing brand founded by Christian Martinez who is the dean of students.

As the founder of the team, I am interested in supporting other charter schools in our area to create swim teams and give opportunities to students around the Bay Area to learn how to swim. This is a big dream of mine and the Latitude team was the first step. 

If you are interested in joining, please talk with Mr. Matt.