PYC 2019: Swimming with 6G
6G sinks record in floating competition

One by one, 6G plunged into the deep water. Swimming instructor Douglas Culpepper had given them instructions to jump off of the diving board at least twice. Some chose to dive, such as Ellie who gave an expert demonstration. Others found different means to throw themselves into the water, such as Sofia who curled herself into a cannonball and hurled herself off of the board. Shyenne, who is apparently very fond of diving, returned to the board again and again.

While some of the girls remained near the deep end, 6G’s counselor, Stephanie Szabo, started a game of “keep away” in the shallow. Girls from both 1G and 6G joined as Miss Szabo explained the rules of the game. At first, it seemed like a standard game of “keep away,” with a ring of girls passing the ball to one another and three girls in the middle trying to obtain it, but there was a catch: in order to practice necessary water polo skills, the girls could only catch and throw with one hand.

After about 15 minutes of the game, Mr. Culpepper announced the next activity. It was a relay in which every girl was to freestyle swim across the length of the pool. When they reached the other side, they were to slap the wall, and the next girl in line would take off. 1G gained an early lead, but Shyenne soon helped 6G to catch up. 6G’s Kelsey and Heather from 1G raced neck-and-neck, but Heather came in first, once again giving 1G the lead. After Kyndra tagged the wall, 6G’s Tori zipped through the water, temporarily regaining 6G’s territory before 1G pulled out ahead once again. 6G’s last swimmer, Ellie, who has a background in swimming, shot across the pool. She swam alongside assistant swimming instructor Callie Cocomise who was subbing in for 1G. Ellie came in just behind Miss Cocomise, giving 1G the victory. Despite the defeat, the girls of 6G seemed happy with the effort they had put forth.

After the girls had a chance to catch their breath, hydrate, and replenish their electrolytes, Mr. Culpepper announced the next activity: the “dead man float.” The “dead man float” is intended as a strategy to relax and rest after treading water or swimming for an extended period of time. However, the scene appeared quite ominous as 19 campers floated on their stomachs with their faces in the water. Miss Cocomise kept the time to see how long each girl could hold her breath. One by one, the campers’ faces popped out of the water until there were only two motionless competitors left. Ellie (6G) and Leah (1G) tied as they brought their heads above the surface in unison.

The girls went down for another try, but this time, Ellie came up first, unable to hold her breath and giggle at the same time. Kelsey and Leah both beat the standing record, but Leah won the competition with a time of 1 minute and 33 seconds.

Mr. Culpepper offered to let the girls attempt the “dead man float” one more time. 12 girls decided to try again. Before he allowed them to start, he recommended that they take 10 deep breaths through the nose and 10 breaths through the mouth to help them recover. Then, he counted with them as they took five more deep breaths through the nose. This time, it was 56 seconds before any of the girls resurfaced. By one minute 45 seconds, all of the girls had come up except for one—Ellie was still face down. She could be seen looking at her watch while she kept her head below the water. She intended to reach two minutes. The other girls and staff anxiously held their breath with her as she fought for the last 10 seconds. With a gasp, she threw her head above the water at exactly two minutes flat. She had crushed the record.

After everyone had finished congratulating Ellie on her accomplishment, Mr. Culpepper allotted the remainder of class to a free swim period. The girls dispersed across the pool. Skye, Selah, and a few other girls took turns diving and splashing into the water from the diving board while others formed a circle in the shallow end and tossed a football. Madison taught South African camper Eden how to properly throw the oddly shaped object. Many of the girls chatted with each other as they swam or lounged on various floatation devices. After about 20 minutes of free swim, 6G got dressed and thanked the staff and 1G. All in all, the class had gone swimmingly.