The St. Joseph’s Academy swim team and coaching staff gathered in the Academy Student Center on August 8 for a preseason retreat. The afternoon session was facilitated by Sister Chris Pologa, SJA’s pastoral care minister.
The retreat featured team-building exercises, prayer and presentations by the senior swimmers.
“We focused on being messengers of grace, teamwork and positive attitude,” Sister Chris said. “We looked at the messages of the angels who visited Mary and St. Joseph: to not be afraid, do your personal best, ask questions if you don’t understand, believe nothing is impossible with God, listen to your dreams and know that God has a plan for you and your life.”
Coach Ali Buchart said the retreat served to start the 2022 season on a note of strength. “And what better way than a retreat focused on our faith, reflection and how we support others?” she said. “One of the main discussions of the retreat was guardian angels. We made a point, as members of the SJA swim team, to be guardian angels for one another and support each other throughout our season.”
Senior Ainsley Roberts said the retreat was a meaningful experience. “We grew together spiritually and personally,” she said. “Sister Chris really helped each of us remember why we are a team built on principles to lift others up and do our best in and out of the pool.”
Senior Claudia Magee said the retreat increased her excitement for the start of the season. “I am always excited before the start of every year, but being able to come together as a team before our season, in prayer, heightened my enthusiasm,” she said. “Sister Chris and our coaches did an amazing job with the first swim retreat. It was a beautiful way to start the season to grow closer to my teammates and closer to God.”
The 2022 season begins on September 17. The team will defend the Division I-Class 5A state title for the 12th time in a row.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Nan Murtagh