A Day in the Life of State Swimmer Edan Scott

By Nick Goldwyn

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Edan Scott, like thousands of other swimmers before her, is hunched on the starting block above the pool at Niles West. It’s the North meet, and Edan is solemn. She stands attentively, she looks serious, determined, and focused on the task at hand. She is still as a gargoyle, until the referee steps up to the mike and utters the phrase “take your mark.” Then Edan tenses up, her body becoming a coiled spring of energy waiting to be let go.

A dull ding marks the beginning of the race, and Edan shoots into the pool and under the water with the other swimmers. Edan is in lane four, and almost unrecognizable through the first 25 yards. She is neck and neck with all the other swimmers at the first turn, but why? How come she isn’t pulling away? And then, it happens. After the first turn it’s a different race. Edan is in a world of her own. Her pre-race focus paying off, Edan swims faster and faster, and begins to pull away. Her arms come out of the water wide, and go back into it closer together, before meeting together under the water where the process is then repeated. This entire violent but beautiful action is almost too fast to see, and is accompanied by her extremely strong dolphin kick.

She glides through the water more like a jet-ski than a swimmer, gaining ground on her competition with every arm movement and leg kick. Edan, swimming the butterfly stroke perfectly, looks like she’s actually flying; her swimming is effortless, and before long the race is over. Edan Scott has just butterfly-ed her way to another school record, and solemn look now gone; she bobs up and down in the water, as joyous as can be

[singlepic id=228 w=320 h=240 float=left]So who is Edan Scott? Well, after watching the North swim meet, it would be hard for one not to think that she’s a swimming machine. A record-breaking, lap-time shattering, sophomore on Girls Varsity Swimming robot. But she’s more than that; Edan is a humble 15-year-old girl, who has a passion for swimming, and an equally great passion for art. She does normal teenage things, like read, watch TV, and hang out with her friends to pass the time. But she is unlike most teens in at least two ways. First, as said above, Edan is amazing at swimming, super human even. And second, she, unlike everyone else in the hallway on a brisk October morning is rushing to get to class.

Edan, after making a quick stop at her locker, luckily makes it to her first period honors chemistry class just in time to take her first, and only quiz of the day. It takes Edan the whole first period to finish her quiz, as she checks her answers again and again before handing it in. This means there’s a lot of downtime for a certain NWN Editor, who has to constantly explain why he’s there to the rest of the class, to write a story on Edan for the school news website.

As the second period of her double begins, Edan and her friends begin to work on a stoichiometry worksheet handed out to them by the substitute. The sub says that the class may talk as long as they do it quietly and keep the conversations focused on Chem. As Edan continues to work diligently on her worksheet, the conversation gradually shifts from Chem to other topics. First the question of why the NWN guy is there, then why the swimmers are dressed up in cowboys and Indians attire (“it’s for today’s meet,” Edan says, “to attract attention.”), and finally a new way of studying.  “I go home and sleep for two hours,” Edan says, “then I’m more refreshed when I do my work.” After an excruciatingly long double, Edan begins to talk about swimming on the way to her next class.

On the walk to the cafeteria, Edan says that at today’s meet she’ll be swimming her two worst events–the 200 IM and the 500 free. She then adds that out of 10, she would probably give herself a six as a swimmer, which if you ask Varsity head coach Jason Macejak is way off.

“Edan is a work horse. She commits herself year round to being the best swimmer she can be and it always shows at the end of the season. Edan is the most talented female swimmer to walk the halls of Niles West and she is only going to get better.” Macejak also added that he was “thrilled to have the opportunity to coach her.”

As we enter the café, Edan drops her bags by her friends at one of the circular tables, and continues to talk about swimming. Edan says that she’s been swimming her whole life, but then corrects herself saying that she’s really been swimming since she was six. Edan then adds that she used to swim for the Leaning Tower YMCA Swim Team, but now she swims for Swift Aquatics. When asked about swim practice, Edan says that practices happen twice a day (two hours in the morning and again after school six days a week) and that they “feel like committing suicide twice a day for two hours,” adding the phrase “death in a pool” to describe what practice is like.

Edan then goes on to say that a normal day for a swimmer goes something like this: “Get up at 6 or 5:30 depending on when practice is, eat massive amounts of food, go to school and swim for two hours, eat massive amounts of food in class, sleep a little in class, eat massive amounts of food during lunch, go to swim practice again for two hours, go home and nap, do homework, sleep, repeat,” which is why after finishing our talk, she walks into line to get food.

Food in hand, Edan walks back to her lunch table, and immediately begins a conversation with her best friend Maddie Fegert. They talk about everything from boys, to homework, to weekend plans, and then back to boys. They make each other laugh a lot; take a few pictures on Edan’s laptop, and eventually joke about whether or not the story should feature Edan using the bathroom. After they come back Edan decides that she wants more food, (she needs more carbs for the meet she says), so Edan and Maddie go back to get more.

While they’re away, fellow sophomore Sharon Mathew shares her thoughts on Edan: “Edan is a really strong, bold person,” she says, before adding, “She’s confident in herself, and is fun and comfortable to be around.”

Sadly, the period ends shortly thereafter, but Edan doesn’t worry about missing her BFF too much, as they see each other again in homeroom. The girls keep one another entertained for the entire 10 minutes, laughing and joking with one another with the same exuberant attitude from the café. Then the bell rings, and Edan is off to her next class, honors geometry, which just like lunch and homeroom flies by. The class doesn’t do much geometry-wise, and before you know it, Edan is off to her favorite class of the day, Advanced Art.

Edan says that she has always been into art, “I’ve been doing art since I could move my arms and draw.” But unlike her athletic ability and competitive nature or her personality, both of which she has multiple people in her family to thank for, Edan only points to one person when asked about art: her mom, the person who from an early age saw Edan’s artistic talent and enrolled her in art classes.

The art classes have definitely paid off, as Edan’s art is some of the best in the art room. But art isn’t only a passion for herself, Edan tells me as she helps senior Gabe Flippo shade his painting, it’s an escape. “I love my art, well not specifically my art, but art in general. It’s one of the few places I can be in the zone and focus on myself, the other ‘zone’ is swimming practice,” she says while shading.

Edan eventually goes back over to her own abstract piece and begins to color it in. She asks if I know what the odd looking round thing in the corner of her piece is. Noticing I have no clue, Edan steps in and saves me from her own question by saying that it’s supposed to represent soccer, the sport that she quit because it interfered with her swimming, and that she misses daily. Deciding that she doesn’t have a lot of work left to do on her piece, and that she has the long weekend to finish it, Edan begins talking to junior Peter Garbis, trying to get him to do the impressions that have made him a class celebrity. He says in a surprisingly good George Bush accent that he likes the way Edan “artified” her picture.

After the impressions are over, Edan, Garbis, and Flippo joke around with one another for most of the rest of class. Edan also introduces me to her friend, junior Alex Johnson (or as you may know him, boom box in the hallway kid), talks to him about why he hasn’t brought his boom box the last couple of weeks, and then sings a little bit, before walking around the class and admiring other students art. For the first time all day Edan isn’t in her school shell, and seems free from everything in the outside world. Sadly her “zone” has to end, as the double period draws to a close and she moves on to honors English.

Honors English, like honors Geometry earlier in the day moves quickly. The students (a lot of whom are in Edan’s Chem class) are given a worksheet about Sir Garwain, a story they’re reading in class, and told to do it. Just like several other times throughout the day, Edan pulls out a package of Ritz Crackerfuls and eats them while she works. After having to give the class a lecture on children’s stories like the gingerbread man, because no one else could remember them, we’re off to one of Edan’s favorite classes, Engineering and Architecture.

Edan’s day ends on an up note with two of her three favorite classes coming at the end of her day. In Engineering Edan gets to take a break from the stress of her busy day and yet again unwind. The class has to model a basement, and show the plans for it to the teacher, Mr. Brzezinski, who is helping students around the class. After about five minutes, I can see why Edan loves this class, it’s hilarious. The kids who sit around her all crack jokes at each other, and constantly get into the funniest arguments (Is soccer tougher than rugby? Which is harder, cross country or swimming?) so she gets a good laugh now and again throughout the period and at the same time gets to learn about one of her favorite subjects. After 42 minutes of almost uninterrupted laughter from Edan, we’re on to her final class of the day, German.

Within the first 10 minutes of German, it is clear why Edan loves this class too. In preparation for Oktoberfest, Edan’s German class is learning a German dance that involves standing in the hallway, and then prancing into the room, German music blasting, over and over again for the entire period. No one in the class has any idea how this relates to German class, but they love having an easy day of dancing and prancing, so everyone is grinning ear to ear throughout the period. Especially Edan, who can’t stop giggling at everything going on around her. After many a side conversation between parts to the dance, and a lot of laughing on the part of the students, my day with Edan is over. We say our goodbyes and she heads off to yet another swim practice.

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So who is Edan Scott? Yes, she’s a monstrous swimmer (going to state this weekend for the 50 and the 100 freestyle, along with senior diver Kelly Sanks), but she’s also an incredibly smart student (in all honors since seventh grade), an amazing artist, and an all-around nice person. She is solemn at times, and joyous at others. Through most of her classes she is studious, focused and determined. But when Edan is in her “zone” (in lunch, art, or her last two classes) she’s ecstatic, exuberant, and free. Yes, Edan Scott is all of those things, she’s still growing as a person and as a student, and as for swim practice she is…a little late.

Video by Ali Toth