By Jude Haddad
This year’s swimming Middle East South Asian Conference (MESAC) took place at the American School of Dubai (AS Dubai) from Thursday 10 November to Saturday 12 November. This year, the DAA team was coached by Ms. Tara Lewis, Ms. Elizabeth Beukenkamp and Mr. J.P Smit. Both the boys and girls Varsity teams got fifth overall, along with Junior Varsity Boys. Junior Varsity Girls won fourth overall. Varsity Boys Captain Alex Kubbinga says that, “I really enjoyed being on the team this year because of all the amazing people, coaches, and atmosphere. Swimming is always a challenge and I feel as a team, we overcame all challenges that were thrown at us.”
There were no seniors on the team this year, but instead a surplus of talented students ranging from grade eight to eleven. Coach Mr. Smit says, “…I think that the older students were very open to having such a wide age range and they were very helpful and accommodating to the younger kids. There was a very smooth transition between the Middle School, JV, and Varsity teams – mostly made possible by the varsity team being so welcoming.”
It was Middle School Science teacher Elizabeth Beukenkamp’s (also known as Coach B) first year coaching the swim team. She says that, “coupling a full workload from school and two hours of practice is no easy task. However, coaching the swim team is an experience I wouldn’t trade, ever. To see a group of students grow from 45 individual swimmers to a singular unified team was truly the best thing […] In the end it paid off. We take care of each other on the swim team, and are energized and excited for next year. Bring it on!”
Although swimming is an individual sport, the whole team competes for points together. This means that team support is a necessary factor throughout MESAC. This year, the team really did put each other first and encouraged each other endlessly throughout every 100 meters (m) fly, 400m freestyle, and 200m individual medley.