Swim team welcomes exchange students

Exchange+student+Petra+Cipolla+swims+butterfly.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Swim team welcomes exchange students

Exchange student Petra Cipolla swims butterfly.

Exchange student Petra Cipolla swims butterfly.

Kate Hentz

Exchange student Petra Cipolla swims butterfly.

Kate Hentz

Kate Hentz

Exchange student Petra Cipolla swims butterfly.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After losing 12 seniors from last season, the ‘Cats’ swim team was able to fill a few of these spots with three foreign exchange students. Juniors Petra Cipolla, Diwesh Kumar, and Dymtro Kabrel decided to join the swim team. Head coach Leslie Ayres was very excited to see all three join the team.

“In the 16 years of coaching, we have never had this many exchange students. We are thrilled to have them on our team and from different countries,” said Ayres. “I was concerned we would not have enough boys this year, but our exchange students bring our boys roster to 14, so they will be an important addition to our team.”

This season will be Kumar’s first time ever swimming competitively. Kumar joined to make more friends and improve his swimming.

“For foreign exchange students to make friends, I think sports teams are a great option,” said Kumar. “Although this is my first time being on a swim team, I’m really looking forward to actually learning how to swim and making new friends.”

Kabrel swam competitively in Ukraine for four years before coming to the United States. This season, Kabrel has enjoyed the differences between his swim team in Ukraine and the ‘Cats swim team.

“I joined to have new experiences and see how different it is from my country and to see how hard it will be for me to study and swim also,” said Kabrel. “So far, the only differences I’ve seen from Ukraine is the change in yards from meters to measure events, but so far, the difficulty level has been the same.”

Cipolla is no stranger to swimming and has been competitively swimming in Italy for 10 years. However, Cipolla has never been on a school team before, because swim teams in Italy are not affiliated with schools.

“Practice in America is definitely a little harder, because most of the people that swim have been swimming on the same team for a long time and may already be used to this, but my main goal for this season is to just have fun,” said Cipolla.

The exchange students’ fellow teammates are also excited to have new swimmers. Junior Charlie Hepner is looking forward to getting to know them better throughout the season.

“To me, it’s awesome to connect with foreign exchange students and introduce them to something that’s probably new to them, and it’s an added bonus when a very experienced swimmer joins, like Petra, who I can learn from,” said Hepner. “We’re all super excited they joined the team.”

The girls’ swimming co-captain Allison Gigante sees the foreign exchange students as great additions to the team.

“Petra has greatly contributed to the success of the women’s relays and has already qualified for many individual state events,” said Gigante. “Diwesh is a huge supporter of the team and helps during practice while improving his stroke and Dymtro has been a great addition as he competes in butterfly.”

So far, Gigante believes they have had a successful season with two women’s relays that already qualified for states. As the season continues, she hopes the swimmers can continue to improve.

“The season has been going really well,” said Gigante. “The general goals for the team members are to improve individually as well as to contribute to the team’s success. We hope that everyone can continue breaking personal records and advance in the sport.”