Summer Sports Guide

How Bishop’s athletes spend their time off


Many members of the Bishop’s water polo team played in the John Hale Tournament with Shores Water Polo. Photo courtesy of Wes Spieker (’21).

During our elementary days, summer vacation was a collage of 7Eleven Slurpees, Kool-Aid dyed hair, and the familiar feeling of putting on a still-wet bathing suit the morning after a long day at the beach. Summer peaked in these years. With no math sheets or academic credit classes, the most educational part of these weeks was a fluffy required reading, meant only to remind developing brains what ink looks like absorbed into paper. 

Now, there never seems to be that wonderful feeling of aimlessness which took so many summers to cultivate. 

For athletes especially, a break is not in the cards. In order to be ready for the season, student-athletes must find ways to practice, with or without their teams. For some, this means simply staying in shape to be ready to keep up with their teammates in the coming season. For others, this means intense athletic clinics in hopes of bettering their skills.

Many members of the Bishop’s water polo team played in the John Hale Tournament with Shores Water Polo. Photo courtesy of Wes Spieker (’21).

Maya Minagawa (‘20) thinks that one of the most important parts of summer is staying in shape. She believes that working on her strength helps her in both gymnastics and dance, saying, “When I’m stronger, I’m not just focused on trying to breathe the whole time.”  

This feeling is not unique to Minagawa. Many athletes agree that improvement during the year is more manageable when they don’t have to start from square one at the beginning of the season. With the rush of the school year, there will be less time for athletic practice, team bonding, and developing trust between teammates. Jamie Fazio (‘21) discussed the ways in which the football team tackles this issue. He has found that working out both individually and with his team aids his performance in football, noting that “getting ready for the season requires [the team] to spend a lot of time getting better on the field and in the weight room.”

While these experiences also take place during the school year, the break from academics during the summer gives athletes more time to develop further. Without the constraint of schoolwork, many athletes are able to go beyond maintaining their general strength and utilize the summer as a way to improve game-specific skills. This search for athletic development takes many forms, including club teams and various clinics. Some of these programs are held at Bishop’s, such as camps focusing on basketball, volleyball, and general fitness.

Many students hope to use summer break to make some extra cash or complete their service learning hours during the break. This leads some high school athletes, such as Arden Lichter (‘21) to take a different approach to athletics. Lichter has spent her past three summers as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center teaching young campers how to surf and swim. Lichter is thankful for this opportunity. “Being a CIT has helped me to keep my skills as a swimmer and a water polo player because I not only get to teach the kids the correct way to swim, but I also get to stay in shape for the season,” she said. 

Wes Spieker (‘21) has also used the summer as a time to find a job that uses his athletic abilities. As an intern for Junior Lifeguards, Spieker is able to utilize his skills in water sports as a means to teach kids about water safety. Fazio also stresses the importance of finding volunteer organizations that align with one’s athletic interests. He works with an organization called SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes (S4EA), which hosts various sporting events for disabled athletes. Fazio’s main motivation for supporting this program is not to maintain his skills in sports but rather because he believes that “everyone should be able to experience the same feelings” that he has felt through sports.  

Without the added stress of schoolwork, some student-athletes are able to dedicate themselves fully to their sports. Jada Davis (‘21) takes advantage of the time to run, dance, and play basketball nonstop, saying, “I try not to take breaks unless I absolutely need to.” 

Brooke Waite (‘21) utilized Bishop’s tennis courts to practice her skills this summer. Photo courtesy of Brooke Waite (’21).

Minagawa also spends a lot of time in the gym, working hard for the upcoming gymnastics season. She discusses the large part of her schedule dedicated to dance and gymnastics, saying, “I spend all summer practicing more than I usually do, focusing a lot on strength, improving my skills from last season, and up-training new skills for the coming season.”

In many cases, high school athletes are hoping to be scouted to play on college teams. The summer is a great time for these students to attend college recruitment events. Brooke Waite (‘21) recently participated in the two day Collegiate Showcase at Harvard University. Many college coaches attended to watch the tennis-centered event. As a junior, Brooke is beginning to feel the pressure of getting recruited. She explained, “The summer is a really great time to attend events where you can show off your skills to college coaches.” 

Summer for high school athletes can look different, but all these students are keeping their chosen sports front and center during these sunny, class-free months. Whether they’re hitting the gym to keep their muscles toned, practicing targeted skills through club teams, mentoring younger athletes, or working to impress college scouts, these Knights have strategies to make sure that when they return in the fall to the court, field, pool, or gym, they will be at their best.