Sharon Kim

Seminole High’s Aquatic Center, where our swimmers train!

Morganne Young, Reporter/Editor

House money (noun): In the context of gambling: gambling with “a whole bunch of money” that was given to the gambler. In the context of swimming: “we got nothing to lose,” says Seminole High School (SHS) Swimming Head Coach Tony Ackerson. 

On Aug. 17th, the SHS swim team had their first swim meet of the high school season, and there is a lot to be excited about.

To start off the season, these swimmers participated in the Orange and Black meet, hosted here at Seminole High School. Typically the first meet of the season is a dual meet, a meet that hosts usually one or two other swim teams, in which swimmers compete against people from both the other team(s), as well as their own teammates. They always get times for their races. However, in the Orange and Black meet, the Head Coach and Assistant Coach Ryan Ackerson drafted teams, The Orange Team and the Black Team. These teams competed against each other in a dual meet. The scoreboard, which displays the swimmers’ times, was turned off, so everyone’s times remained a secret. 

As Coach Ryan Ackerson puts it, ”they’re just racing” and the swimmers were excited to have fun. It relieved the swimmers from the added stress of hoping to get best times. Our swimmer noles got to channel their house money state of mind for some friendly competition!

First year swim coach, Ryan Ackerson, has brought a new tradition to the team, the orange cap. His inspiration came from NFL teams who recognize a “practice player… of the week” by awarding them a special jersey states Coach Tony Ackerson. 

Swimmers, however, wear caps, not jerseys. In true SHS swimming fashion, the swimmer of the week gets to sport a bright orange noles cap at practices for the rest of their swim career, or until the cap breaks. The swimmer of the week is decided by the coaches based on their hard work. On a team full of hard workers, it becomes difficult to select the best. In order to narrow down their selection, Coach Ryan Ackerson says the orange cap recipients have a “signature moment for that week”.  

Ethan Pierson, an IB freshman at SHS, was the first orange cap recipient. He says: “it felt good to be recognized [for his hard work]”. He hopes the cap inspires his teammates “to work even harder…[which will create] a brighter future for the team.”

During the swim meet, the energy could be felt all the way from Ridgewood Avenue. Team Black member, Health Academy sophomore Sebastian Robledo, says he has “never seen a team be so energetic” even though this meet was not the most important one of the season. 

The scores between The Orange and Black teams remained close the entire time; they were even tied after several events! The Orange and Black teams had different mindsets going into the meet. Team Orange’s goal was to “just win.”, says Camden Bates, Health Academy sophomore and Team Orange member. 

Team Black was more strategic by trying to compensate for their relay losses by “win[ning] the individual events.”, says Robledo. 

Team Orange was playing with ‘house money’ until the stakes became high towards the end of the meet, where a disqualification in the last event would have cost them the meet. Team Orange prevailed and ended up winning the meet 181-169. But most importantly, the swimmers on both teams gained valuable racing experience and made unforgettable memories with their fellow swimmers.

This year, the swim team is composed of mostly underclassmen, which may seem alarming to onlookers. However, the SHS swimmers and coaches know this year is going to be a great one. Coach Tony Ackerson whole-heartedly believes the class of 2025 and 2026 have great swimmers.  “I believe that this year we have very, very, very good swimmers. I love… having fresh energy on the team, and so do the swimmers.”, he expresses.

Emily Cummings, Health Academy senior, can feel the impact that the young swimmers’ “love for the sport” has on the team’s spirit. Being surrounded by other swimmers who love what they are doing creates a positive team environment, so she is excited for the team’s potential in the coming years. 

Sydney Stresen-Reuter, an IB senior, agrees. She recognizes that swimming is largely a mental sport. “For the team to be successful in the pool, the team dynamic has to be strong outside of the pool,” says Stressen-Reuter.  


This swim meet was a sneak peak of the great things these swimmers are on track to accomplish this season. Their unbreakable team bond and fire the new swimmers and Coach Ryan Ackerson have brought to the team are sure to propel the SHS swim team this year. The future is bright for the SHS swim team. Go support your Seminole swimmers at the next home swim meet! Noles, show up or show out!