She surfaces the water to fill her lungs with needed oxygen – but only for a short moment. Diving under the surface again, cupped arms propel her body through the clear blue water.

Surrounded by water, she’s in a world of her own. She escapes the outside world, drowning out all the noises around her, and swims.

“It’s all I think about,” Aja Reyes, sophomore, grins when she talks about the sport she loves.

When summer came her 4th grade year, Reyes began swimming for a team her cousins were already on, but didn’t realize that this sport would become a passion that requires drive and dedication.

“I tried other sports, but I wasn’t good at them,” she says. “So then I tried swimming, and that was it.”

Last year, Reyes made it to sections for swim, a great accomplishment for only a freshman, she comments. This year, she plays both water polo and swim.

Although swim is usually considered an individual sport, Reyes thinks of it as a team sport because of all of the support she receives from teammates.

“But in the end, it’s all down to me,” Reyes says. “I really can’t blame anyone if I lose. I have to put in effort for myself and give one hundred percent.”

Reyes thinks about swimming for a college, but says she has to focus on school work more. For now, she’s happy swimming for the school team, especially now that the new pool has opened.

“We finally have somewhere to call home,” she says, smiling.

Eyes closed, she takes one last deep breath, arms forming a V shape above her, before she dives back into her passion.