Immersing in swim, band, IB

Romero discovers invaluable lessons in all three


Neveah Jones

Coppell junior swimmer Hector Romero practices butterfly strokes at the YMCA for swim practice on Oct. 28. In addition to swimming, Romero also plays the clarinet in the CHS band and is in the International Baccalaureate program at CHS.

Karen Lu, Daily News/Assignment Editor

Rushing out of the locker room, still wearing his swim cap and goggles, Coppell High School junior Hector Romero changes into his marching band uniform in the car while speeding off to the next competition.

The frenzy of going straight from an early morning swim meet to a band competition that lasts long after sunset is only a glimpse into Romero’s life. A member of the Coppell varsity swim team and the International Baccalaureate program, as well as a clarinet player on the varsity marching band, Romero has to utilize every hour of his day to get everything done. 

On a typical Monday, Romero wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to work out at the gym before school starts. During school, Romero has band second period and swim practice at the YMCA fourth period, before returning to school for marching band practice from 5-8 p.m. Then, it’s time to study for his IB courses, usually until 1 or 2 a.m.

“He’s really hard working, and he’s really dedicated,” said CHS junior Ruijia Huang, a fellow clarinet player. “It takes a lot of love to do so many things at once. He’s also very determined to be successful at what he does. That’s partially the reason why he’s able to do when so many other people would just give up and only pick one thing.” 

In the height of both marching and swim season with numerous sleepless nights, choosing between either activity may seem like the easy way out. However, for Romero, band, swim and IB all teach him something invaluable.

“Freshman year in band, I remember we had two weeks in the summer, 12 hours each day, Monday through Friday,” Romero said. “I remember I was just dying the entire time; I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to be there, I was uncomfortable. And then I remember [CHS band director Gerry Miller] saying, ‘You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ This made me realize I should always work as hard as I can, even if there are things I don’t want to do. I’m going to do them anyway, so I might as well do it with my best effort.” 

When Romero first started on the swim team his freshman year, he had never really immersed himself in the sport, making JV2 after tryouts. After his first semester, through determination, Romero was promoted to practicing with the varsity team and currently swims with Varsity A.

“Success in swim is based on consistent effort over time,” Coppell swim coach Marieke Mastebroeke said. “There are valuable lessons in perseverance, going through the grind, knowing how to get from point A to Z at the end. And with [Romero], he’s dedicated in the pool. He gives his very best.”

On top of his busy schedule outside of school, IB gives Romero a rigorous course load during school hours as well. According to Romero, IB offers him something he can’t find anywhere else.

“What’s really special about IB is the fact that it makes you think deeper about things,” Romero said. “It makes you apply everything you learned in math, history and English. You think about those things in the real world, and you get a more complex look at today’s world problems. IB puts it all together and relates it to us and our actions.”

With all the difficulties that come from managing such a hectic life, there is something to be said about the lessons that come from getting involved with several activities.

“I always advocate for students to be involved in many activities outside of school,” CHS IB English teacher Stephanie Spaete said. “Now is the time to figure out who you are and what you want in life—what really defines you and what you really enjoy. So many people wait until college or beyond, and they don’t know who they are, so I think [band, swim and IB] will just better [Romero] and help him figure out what he wants to do.”

With juggling all these responsibilities comes a willpower and strength not many have.

“[Romero] has perseverance, of course, and passion,” CHS senior Celeste Wang, a clarinet section leader, said. “If he wasn’t passionate, then he wouldn’t try so hard. Those two and determination are very important. He’s just a very strong person.”

Follow Karen (@_karenlu_) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.