Athlete Spotlight – Ginger Berry ’21, Rachel Mark ’23 and Robert Amundson ’22 – Varsity Swimming

Boys & Girls Swimming – Ginger Berry ’21, Rachel Mark ’23 and Robert Amundson ’22

Interviewed and written by Gale Gai ’22

Learn more about members of the 2020-2021 boys and girls varsity swimming teams from Gale Gai’s interviews.

Ginger Berry ’21 – Girls Varsity Swimming

GG: What’s your story with sports?
GB: My first swim meet was when I was six. I was really young back then. My mother swam, and my brother swam, so it was a big thing in my family. But, by around seventh grade, I was really burnt out, so I actually quit for a few years. I didn’t come back until my sophomore year of high school, and that was a big change for me. I realized that I did want to and loved to swim. In that way, I am different than anyone else, because I did choose to come back.

GG: What made you come back to swim?
GB: Even when I was young, I had two hours of swim practices, and it is a very tiring sport. But, I wanted to come back because I was motivated by it in a way, and I wanted to work for it outside of school. Also, the team aspect of it is really important. My friends on my team are closer to me than my friends at school because we share that shared goal and common drive.

GG: What are you going to miss the most about swimming at Deerfield?
GB: Definitely the team. I haven’t been here for long, but the team has already been so amazing, and the people have been amazing. It reminds me that I swim for more than just the training and the meets. This year has been weird, because we haven’t been able to compete much, but it has been fun to go to practice every day to see my friends and have a good time. It reminds me that swimming doesn’t have to be so serious.

GG: What is the best reward swimming gives you?
GB: It is that feeling after a really hard practice when you feel like you have done well, and you feel accomplished and proud. That is a feeling and something that I chase every day. I re-watch videos to re-experience those feelings, and I motivate myself to achieve that again.

Rachel Mark ’23 – Girls Varsity Swimming

GG: What’s your story with sports?
RM: I started taking swimming lessons when I was four. Then, I moved into a new house, and it had a pool. My parents wanted me to be a good swimmer so that I wouldn’t drown in the pool [laughs]. From those swimming lessons, I really liked swimming. I started swimming in a team at eight, and I have been swimming competitively ever since then.

GG: What is the toughest part about swimming?
RM: Swimming is very repetitive. Sometimes, it is hard to motivate yourself because it is very much about knowing exactly how good you are with your fixed-time results. You know if you are getting better, plateauing, or getting worse. Sometimes, it is hard to stay motivated if you are trying really hard but you are not improving much.

GG: What is the best thing about the team that you are with?
RM: We’re such a family, and we are so close. It is not so much about our times and our performances. We support each other because everyone is such nice people.

GG: What are some of your goals for your next two seasons as a Deerfield swimmer?
RM: I want to be faster, obviously. I also want to be a leader on the team. I look up to the older swimmers on the team so much, so when I am an upperclassman, I want to be a leader like them. That’s my main goal.

GG: Tell us about your best ever race.
RM: When I was twelve, three other girls and I in our club team had a freestyle relay to swim at New England’s. We didn’t think we could win, because we were not all freestylers. But, we ended up winning New England’s, that was really cool. It was memorable because I felt I contributed a lot to something bigger than myself, because relays are team-oriented. It was the last day of the meet on a four-day meet, and we were tired. But we pushed ourselves, and we ended up winning. So, that was really cool.

Robert Amundson ’22 – Boys Varsity Swimming

GG: What’s your story with sports?
RA: Ever since I could remember, I have been doing some sort of sports. My parents involved me in sports, and I started off with T-ball. I did soccer for a season. Eventually, mid-way through middle school, I settled on football, swimming, and lacrosse as the three-season sports. I started swimming when I was thirteen. Ever since then, it has been one of my favorite sports. I loved the team aspect of every sport, but you can always see your individual improvement in your times in swimming.

GG: How do you manage your time between school and swimming?
RA: Deerfield has taught me a lot about time management. For me, having a designated time when I can sit down and do my work, usually before my practice, was helpful. If I did not have a plan for myself, I would be really unproductive. Actually, study halls from freshman and sophomore year really taught me how to do that.

GG: Swimming with this team at Deerfield, what do you enjoy the most?
RA: It is the family mentality of it. Everyone on the team is so close, and we are spending two hours with each other every day. Those two hours consist of a lot of hard work, and that brings us together. We all love to push each other, and I just love that family feeling within the team.

GG: What’s your way of pushing yourself to become faster in the water?
RA: I am really goal-oriented. At the beginning of the season, I’d like to write down what I want to do and achieve, whether it is a time or a place in New England’s. If I am doing a set where I don’t have competitors around, and I couldn’t use competition to motivate myself, I think about my goals and how I can get there, and that pushes me through a hard set.

GG: Share with us your best moment of swimming at Deerfield.
RA: There are many really good moments. The one I am going with is New England’s last year. In the 500 Free, I made the B finals, and I was seeded 12th out of 16. Going into the final on the second day, I knew I could beat some of my opponents, and I knew that could be some valuable points scored for the team. The day before, I went 4:56, and I dropped another 6 seconds the second day to pull myself up to 9th. That was big, because I scored many points for Deerfield, and I got the best possible result in the B finals. Pulling through that challenge, I think that is one of my most exciting moments swimming at Deerfield.

Go Big Green!