Last weekend, from March 12 to 13, nine ISP students from Grade 8-11 travelled to Lugano, Switzerland, to attend the ISP Panthers' first ever international swimming competition organized by The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) and the European Sports Conference (ESC).
Off to an early start at 7:00 from ISP, we arrived in the tranquil town of Lugano just after lunch. The rest of the Saturday was spent strolling through the quaint town, sampling the local delicacies and relaxing at the hosts' homes – providing a much needed rest in preparation for the intensive day ahead.
The ISP team joined back together as we changed environments from the calm ambience of the Swiss countryside to the atmosphere of excitement at the swimming pool. As we settled into our corner and sneaked glances at the other teams, nervousness filled the air around the ISP squad as we anticipated the high stakes of this international competition. Fortunately, one-by-one, as we dove into the 25-meter pool for our warm-up, that nervousness dissipated and we focused on what we do best: swimming.
Transferring that newfound energy into team spirit, the whole squad put their efforts into cheering on our swimmers and of course, into each of our individual races. Competing for almost seven hours straight, our ISP swimmers swam a mixture of the four different strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly), in addition to two exhilarating relays that garnered the attention of all the teams as we urged on our teammates.
The months of swim practice finally paid off as many of our swimmers broke their personal bests, with some even qualifying for finals! A special congratulations goes to Ziki, who won first place for two events and even broke an ESC record for her 50-meter butterfly. As the day progressed, filled with cheering, swimming and laughing together, we created strong bonds with team members, some of whom we may have not even spoken to before and shared memories that will be in our hearts for a long time.
Despite an exhausting day of swimming, the entire ISP swim team was proud of their efforts and truly grateful for the opportunity to compete in the tournament. From staying with the warm host families to winning the well-deserved sportsmanship award, Jeanne, Vivi, Willow, Ruben, Ziki, Amirul, Bruna, Thomas and Zinzan were overjoyed to represent the ISP community in the ECS swimming tournament in Lugano and we look forward to repeat and build on the success in the future.
We would also like to say thank you to Coach Cartwright and Digesto for accompanying us on the trip.
Bruna Bobanovic and Ziki Gurney