What Makes These Relay Fast Swimmers Flow, An Interview with Natasha Moeslinger and Samantha Zheng

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Issue 5, Volume 110

By Aki Yamaguchi 

Natasha Moeslinger

Grade: Senior
Height: 5’4
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Brown
DOB: August 18, 2002

Samantha Zheng

Height: 5’4’1/2
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Black-Brown
DOB: May 28, 2002

1. When did you start swimming?

SZ: I started swimming when I was six and I don’t swim outside of school. NM: I also think I started swimming when I was six, maybe seven. I have been swimming on an outside team at the same time as the school team.

2. Going into the final rounds of playoffs, are there any things you have to do specifically?

NM: Though each specific swimmer has its own goals, we always want to make sure we are united as a team and have our focus on the same goal. If we can get that engraved into everyone’s minds, then that’s great and will probably help us succeed. Up to this point, we have been working out every day after school, even on the days we have off. On Veterans Day and the other holidays, we come into school and swim, so at this point in the season, it’s up to the girls to get the job done. We either got it or we don’t. SZ: Yeah, we just want to make sure everyone gets enough rest and is eating properly. Making sure everyone knows their job and is focused on trying to win. NM: It’s also been hard balancing academics too, but we always get through it.

3. Have there been struggles on the team, and how have you dealt with it?

SZ: We lost a lot of our sophomores—they would have been sophomores this year. We lost half of our freshman class from last year (NM: Four.), and it was kinda hard because we were desperate to try to recruit a better class of incoming freshmen. I think that this year everyone has stepped up, though, and it wasn’t as big of a deal as we thought it was going to be.

4. What were your goals for the season and have they been achieved?

SZ: Our team goals were always just to get to finals, which we did yesterday, and to win the PSAL Championships. NM: That’s this weekend—our season is still ongoing. We wanted our girls to also be more committed this year. Last year, we had a lot of problems with that. SZ: We also want to make sure the girls feel included all the time and have fun.

5. What race do you swim and why?

NM: I always swim the 200 YD Individual Medley, and I don’t really know why. SZ: It’s because she’s good at everything and that’s the only one that covers everything. I swim either the 50 YD or the 100 YD because I can’t swim long distances. NM: Samantha is like our team spirit captain, too. We’re a dynamic duo.

6. How has the captaincy changed your playstyle and outlook on the game?

SZ: Now, we have to take into account everyone else because when you are just part of the team, you are just looking out for yourself and not other people. Now as a captain, you have to make sure everyone is on top of their game and if someone has a problem, Natasha and I are always the first ones to know about it, and we have to fix it. We can’t let the rest of the team know because we don’t want to overwhelm anyone else. NM: Especially if we personally are going through something, we always have to tough it out because we obviously don’t want to show any weakness to the rest of the team. It’s a lot more for me, at least mentally, when you are guarding a team and it feels like everyone else is watching you always. We just have to always be good role models.

7. How do you deal with swimming and your schoolwork? Do you have any tips?

SZ: For swim season, we always put swim a little above schoolwork just because it’s a short season. It’s only three months. This year, we really preached commitment so we both didn’t want to be hypocrites. We were doing college app[lication]s the same time as the quarterfinals and thinking about both at the same time. It just goes to show that you can definitely balance it, but sometimes swim comes first because we just want 21 girls to be super happy. NM: Yeah, it all comes down to time management—that’s basically it. If I were to give advice to upcoming seniors, it would be to do your common app over the summer. It was so time-consuming and you just don’t have time to focus on it during your season.

8. Favorite memory or moment?

SZ: I think it would have to be sometimes after practice when we go out as a team to lunch or brunch. One time—I think it was this season actually—we went out after practice on a Saturday at 8 o’clock and we went to Big Daddy’s for brunch. It was so good and there were so many girls. We ate so much and it was just a great team bonding day. NM: I guess for me, it would be this year when we got the AUX cord finally working in the office, and so sometimes during 10th, you might hear music blasting from the pool. It’s because we are blasting music. It’s just one of the more uplifting parts of practice when you turn around and see girls jamming it out and swimming hard. It’s just really hard—it’s the little things.

9. Something you are going to miss about the team?

SZ: I’m going to miss the team more than swimming. I’m going to miss being able to talk to everyone because I remember that the first friends I made and my best friend were on the swim team. Even to this day, all my closest friends are on the same team and I couldn’t imagine being at any part of Stuyvesant without them. I’m always at the pool office. Literally, I live there. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. NM: I can’t find one thing but I guess seeing my whole team in one place. After the season ends, there are so many events I’m going to miss, like how our team feels at the moment. I’m lowkey going to miss teasing Samantha and seeing her every day because outside of swimming, I don’t get to see her a lot. This is the one time I do, so yeah.

Drink of Choice:

>NM - Water
>SZ - Bubble tea

Favorite food:

>NM - Ice cream
>SZ - Chicken Parmigiana (it just hits different)

Motto to live by:

>NM - If you aren’t going to put your whole heart into it, don’t do it.
>SZ - That’s what she said.

Fun fact:

>NZ - I’m the swim team hypebeast.
>SZ - I enjoy watching Food Network, and I’m the brunch food queen.