Dive into a successful freshman aquatics unit


For most freshmen, the PE swim unit is a dreaded part of the school year. The cold water, gunk-ridden floors and sopping wet hair can put a damper on anyone’s day, But don’t fret–we’ve assembled the best tips and tricks on how to survive the mandatory swim unit at Naperville North.

PE teachers generally give students about ten minutes to change after swimming. There are many ways to efficiently use the precious time.

Most importantly, students should bring their own towels. Seriously. The towels that the school graciously provides are used and small, and are more comparable to dishrags than the fluffy, large towels you could just as easily bring from home. .

For those who wear makeup, we suggest waiting until after your PE class to apply it. You most likely won’t have enough time to take it off beforehand, and it’s truly more work to keep your face out of the water than to just dive right in. Another thing to keep in mind is that the chlorine in the pool dries out your skin, so bring small bottles of face and body lotion to make the rest of the day more comfortable.

No matter what you do, you are destined to get your hair wet during the swim unit. The challenging part is making the most of a damp head. First, wrap your hair in a towel immediately after you get out of the pool. This allows your hair time to dry as you are toweling off and getting dressed. Another must-have, especially for girls, is a hair brush. Walking around with wet tangled hair is a look that not many can pull off. If you are in a rush to dry your hair, use the hand dryers on the wall as a makeshift blow dryer.  

After swimming in the pool water, everybody feels disgusting. Luckily, there is a very simple solution: showers. Letting the clean water cleanse you of the chlorine will make you feel ten times better. Just remember to bring your own shampoo, conditioner and body soap. To shorten your list of items to bring, find a travel-sized two-in-one shampoo and conditioner.

What you wear to school can make or break your day. What not to wear: skinny jeans. It’s quite a feat to get them on if you’re not completely dry. The best clothing options are anything loose, such as t-shirts, sweatpants and joggers. Surprisingly, dresses work the best (sorry, boys!)  because most are loose-fitting and provide less clothing items to keep track of. Additionally, dresses and skirts allow you to stealthily change out of your swimsuit without the hassle of a towel or bathroom stall.

The most important thing to remember about NNHS’ swimming unit is not to stress. It’s pretty laid-back. If you’re concerned about wearing a swimsuit in front of your whole class, or not having the best swimming skills, you’re in the majority. PE teacher Kevin Benages said he simply expects students to put in effort.

“[The freshmen curriculum] is about teaching the different swim strokes, helping those who aren’t efficient swimmers become better and progressing those that can already swim,” Benages said. “I expect every student to be giving me their best.”

The swimming test you’ll take on the first day typically consists of a few laps. Teachers don’t care how you get from one end to the other–whether it be butterfly, freestyle or doggy paddle. If you can’t hold your own in the water, it’s no big deal: the shallow end will always be there for you.

Everyone in the class is in the same position as far as swimsuits go. Girls can wear either a one-piece or a two-piece with a shirt over it, but they most commonly go for the former. The experience might be weird at first, but just relax and rock your swimsuit as best you can.

Despite however daunting the swim unit is to you, it is nothing to break a sweat about. If you are prepared for whatever situation the pool will throw at you, it will be a walk in the park.