Lauren Levy, captain of the Buffalo Seminary swim team, shared some of her most memorable experiences and greatest accomplishments during her time in the sport, including when she qualified for the 2019 European Maccabi Games in Budapest, Hungary.
Levy started her swimming career at the age of six, through the local YMCA team. When she was nine, she joined the Tonawanda Titans Swim Club, and she said it has become her second home over the past seven years. “I just love the team. I love the atmosphere, with coach Scott and my other teammates. It’s a great place to be,” said Levy.
Some of Levy’s favorite club swimming memories are from meets with her teammates because they are a chance for everyone to see their determination and effort pay off in the pool. “It’s really a place for you and your teammates to show everyone how much work you’ve put in. I love the sportsmanship. I love cheering for my teammates and supporting one another. It’s a great place to exhibit your hard work and see your improvements,” Levy said.
Although Levy said she enjoys most of the meets she participates in, the 2019 Summer European Maccabi Games was one of her favorites. This seven-day event takes place in Budapest, Hungary, and athletes from around the globe partake in this meet. “The Maccabi Games are an opportunity for Jewish athletes to come together and compete on a world stage,” she said.
In order to attend, Levy had to submit her times to the Maccabi Games staff. After they were approved, she officially “qualified” for the meet as a junior member on the United States team. She said it was an amazing, unforgettable experience. “It was great to see different athletes from different sports all coming together for the meet,” said Levy.
Levy also swims for her high school team at Buffalo Seminary, and she said the season has been going exceptionally well, especially considering it was shortened due to Covid-19. “This year, I believe we have more swimmers than we’ve ever had before, so it’s great to come to practice with a bunch of people ready to get in the pool and ready to work hard.”
Levy was impressed with the team’s performance in the first meet, and she said it was an incredible feeling to win alongside her teammates. “All together I could not be happier with my teammates. They all did so well, and the coaches were so happy. Club swimmers and non-club swimmers alike were there and showed so much growth from certain skills they worked on in practice.”
Since club swimming is typically a more challenging, competitive environment, high school swimming provides athletes with a unique opportunity to get involved in the sport, while also building meaningful relationships with their teammates. Likewise, Levy said she notices that there is more spirit among her high school team because it is a closer, more tightly bonded group. “Every race we’ll get up and cheer because each point matters. Sometimes the scores will be really close until the end, and since, it’s a smaller environment, we’re able to support one another more closely than we would on a club team,” she said.
Levy was selected as team captain this year, and she said it has been a very rewarding, cherished experience. “I love my teammates, and it’s an honor to be their captain to bring spirit and motivation into each and every practice.” She concluded, “I love the companionship and the team bonding that comes with swimming, and college swimming is just on another level. I think that swimming, to me, each swim team is like a second family, so having that second family, those people I can rely on when away from home is something I would love to have.”