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The Perennial

The Perennial

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Pinewood’s Swim Team Is NOT a Cult

Rose Xu
Members of the Pinewood swim team gather to exchange information about the success of their water-stealing business.

   The Pinewood swim team is NOT a cult.

   It was just another Monday morning, but something felt a little odd. During my morning calculus class, junior Michael Bradley and senior Sean Su started asking me odd questions such as “How well can you keep a secret?” and “Are you a man of morality?” 

   Just thinking the integrals were getting to their heads, I reluctantly answered their questions. Weirdly enough, anytime I tried to bring up the root of their interrogation, they refused to answer, dodging my questions. 

   As class ended, Su slid me a pamphlet for the Pinewood Swim Team, a rather odd form of marketing for Pinewood Athletics, but I guess they were trying something different. In all honesty, Pinewood’s swim team always seemed to fly under the radar, almost suspiciously so … almost.        

   “3:30 pm after school. Meet us by the vans. And remember, Coach Fields is god,” Su said. 

   What vans? Who is Fields? Why does Sean sound like he is trying to assassinate me? As a second-semester senior, I could not back down from this call to adventure, as my questions had to be answered. As I walked up to the vans after school, nobody was in sight. Suddenly, I felt the tacky latex of a swim cap drape over my eyes, and I was tossed into the van. Although this was worrying, it made sense, given that the Swim team likely wanted to ensure that I did not leak any information about the whereabouts of their training to any competitors, for competition’s sake of course

   “You will not tell anyone about this place,” Bradley said as he ripped the swim cap off my eyes, and took me out of the van. 

   I could hear a rush of water (from the swimming pool I assumed) as Bradley took me into what appeared to be a prayer room adorned with pictures of Coach Fields. This was quite smart on the swim team’s part, as disrespecting a coach can lead to disastrous consequences. Good on them for showing such respect. After a brief moment of prayer, Michael walked me into a giant factory-like room filled with swimming pools, but nobody was swimming. It was probably a rest day. 

   “This is where we keep the water we ‘borrow’ from the recycling plants. It’s why you see California keeps going back into drought,” Bradley said, discussing his brilliant business strategy. 

   “We sell the water to PATHwater at an increased rate, and use that money for, you know, more important things,” Bradley said. 

   Bradley was truly a genius. For the next hour, he continued showing me the facility used to, in my mind, fund the Pinewood Swim Team. As we left the building, I went to take a picture of the facility to further marvel at its genius, but my phone was snatched out of my hand, and my body was smuggled into the van. I guess I forgot about the whole secrecy thing. 

   All in all, if my day with the swim team taught me anything, it is that the group is full of hard-working people who are just trying to do what is best for the team. Even though they seem to sometimes fly under the radar, they should be respected just as much as any other Pinewood athletics team.

   The next day at school, I ran into Mr. Lemmon and began telling him about my spontaneous swim team field trip experience. Mid conversation, he gave me a look of panic, and bolted to his office—he’s clearly a very busy guy. Just a few hours later, a barrage of police cars swarmed the parking lot, and one by one, the entire swim team was arrested. A true shame given that the team’s season had only just begun.

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