Athletics at a distance

Two LSHS athletes describe their experiences with online athletics.


Rachel Howard

Swimmer Kyra Freeman practicing at the LSHS pool. The LSHS pool has been open for lap swim and LSHS athletes to practice since fall 2020.

Student athletics have always been central to the culture of  Lake Stevens High School. Historically, there have been large turnouts for football and basketball games, as well as large success from athletes in other sports. 

Athletics have inspired a sense of comradery between students, so sports shutting down and being done from a distance has been undeniably strenuous on athletes. 

Junior swimmer Kyra Freeman said that she felt disconnected from her teammates. “A lot of girls on the team I haven’t been able to talk to or see in months and I do miss them,” she explains.

Sophomore football player Macray Flanders echoes Freeman’s sentiments. “ I feel like you will never be able to have the same connection that you would have in person with your teammates, but by doing these zoom calls we are able to get to know each other and get a feel for what is to come this season.” He says. 

Both athletes are grateful that they were able to form connections with their teammates last year that carried into the new, distanced athletics. 

Different sports have had to come up with different ways to tackle distance schooling. The football team has been doing more weight training than the swim team, who focus more on dryland, which is using body weight workout done on dry-land, and technique work. 

Not all sports are created equal, and some facilities have been able to stay open despite the shutdowns. Due to the hard work of the LSHS pool staff, the pool has remained open for practice. 

Because of this, Freeman has been able to use the COVID-19 restrictions to her advantage, saying, “I’ve been swimming a lot more than I would in a regular-season because I have more time. I feel great.” Unlike many other athletes, she’s remained optimistic that she won’t just be the same speed she was last season, but faster. 

Despite Flanders being away from the football field and confined to his home, he too remains open-minded about how the upcoming season may go. “I don’t think we will be completely prepared, but these training meets will make it so we are close very close to being ready and so that we have very little training left to be completely ready.” He says. 

Even with the success, the sacred connections between teammates and coaches is impossible to recreate online. 

Freeman says that she “[misses] being able to have coaches by the pool the most right now…It’s super helpful to be able to get tips and critiques throughout practice so you know what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it. “

While Flanders says that he “[misses] the relationships you get to build with your teammates. Most of the fun during the season is getting to hang out with your team and you are not able to get that online.”

Both athletes are happily anticipating when they can safely get back to representing LSHS on the field and in the pool. 

I am most excited to get back to playing games, that is what we train for and I really look forward to getting back to that.” Says Flanders.