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U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Swimming to Success: Jeffrey Wang leads team through motivation

Bryce Light
Throughout his years on the swim team Jeffrey has not only become a great swimmer, but he has become a leader and a motivation to his team.

As swimming practice starts, the team members set up the lanes in Sunny Pool, dragging the dividers along its length. Jeffrey Wang, a junior and co-captain, oversees all of the activity, getting himself prepared to help the rest of them. He instructs his teammates on what needs to be done, and then they start their warmups. 

Jeffrey has been swimming for as long as he can remember. He has been on swim teams for eight years, and in his third year on the U-High team, Jeffrey has become a leader. 

Coach Mirko Mirkov has known Jeffrey since he started swimming for Midway Aquatics at 8 years old. 

“When he was at the Midway swim club, and we were still swimming here out of the Sunny Pool, “Mr. Mirkov said. “He was a little, like, ankle-biter. He was in one of the developmental groups on our team, and now he’s swimming on the high school team.”

Over the years, not only has Jeffrey become a great swimmer, but he has become a leader and a motivation to his team.

“He understands when you practice swimming, it’s not always necessary to go fast,” Mr. Mirkov said. “He understands when he needs to go medium speed or work on technique, and pay attention to his kicks. He really understands the idea behind the practices, and that’s what makes him a very good swimmer.” 

As Jeffrey has learned what swimming means to him, he has assumed the role of team co-captain. 

“It meant a lot for me to become captain. It gave me an opportunity to lead the team,” Jeffrey said. 

Through his leading-through-motivating mentality, Jeffery led the team to an ISL victory, showing that his leadership paid off.

“I think the ISL win was a positive motivation to see where we’re at this season now that it’s going to be over in about two or three weeks,” Jeffery said. “My role is to just do my best and swim my best and motivate the team around me.” 

Sebastian Gans, a junior and a teammate, not only appreciates Jeffrey’s swimming skills but how he is a mentor for the team. 

“This year he has been really great in competitions. He’s setting a standard for us to go fast. It’s really great to have him on the team. He’s a motivation for me and everyone else,” Sebastian said. “Since this year he’s a team captain I’ve seen him take more leadership positions in the team, I’ve seen him lead team chants and give speeches to us, stuff like that.”

Jeffrey, like everyone, has good and bad days. But that doesn’t stop him from getting back in the water the next day and working. 

“I mean, bad practices, they often happen, I’d say once every three weeks,” Jeffrey said. “Sometimes when I have a bad practice, I’m just like, ‘God, I hate this sport so much. Why can’t I swim fast at all today?’ Usually, the best thing I do after I’ve had a bad meet is to just get back in the water the next day and just keep practicing. I usually tell myself this stuff is usually expected. Again, not every meet is going to be a perfect meet.” 

For Jeffrey, swimming isn’t just about the short-term, it’s about the long-term growth. 

“It’s not just a singular moment that’s going to define path and career,” Jeffrey said. “Usually after a bad meet, I just say like, ‘OK, it’s all right, let’s just shut up and swim tomorrow and it’s all going to be fine.’”

The next day, Jeffery and the team will be back at the pool, setting up for another day of practice.

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About the Contributors
Chloe Alexander
Chloe Alexander, Arts Editor
Chloë Alexander is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the arts editor. She joined the journalism family in the 2021-22 school year as a ninth grader and previously served as an assistant editor. Chloë enjoys journalism because it allows her to create a space for Lab students to be represented through writing. Her favorite story that she has written is “‘SOS’ showcases a wide range of styles and themes.” Outside of working on the Midway, she is a Maroon Key, plays the piano and enjoys reading. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, news editing, headline and current events 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare O’Connor, Amy Ren and William Tan), superior 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Briefs writing, first place (with Louis Auxenfans, Joaquin Figueroa, Chloe Ma, Amy Ren, Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu), Vol. 98, Issue 8 (March 10, 2022), Page 3
Bryce Light
Bryce Light, Photographer
Bryce Light is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is documenting school events. Outside of photojournalism, Bryce enjoys soccer, video games and taking his dogs on walks. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, sports photo: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, single spot news photograph, “U-High celebrates community spirit in annual Homecoming assembly” (Photo 4: Teacher Matt Bonges)

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