Meet Jenna Wilf and Morgan Wolfe. Apart from having similar last names, being the same age, going to the same high school AND being on the same swim team (Go AGUA!), there is something else very special that the 16-year-olds have in common. They both volunteer on Fridays for Asphalt Green’s Waterproofing program, teaching elementary school children how to swim. We caught up with Jenna and Morgan to learn about the role that swimming plays in their lives and why volunteering and giving back to the community is something they enjoy.
Q: How long have you been on the AGUA Swim Team?
JW: Nine years
MW: Seven years
Q: Why did you get involved in swimming?
MW: When I was little, I went to a day camp in Fire Island, and it involved learning how to swim. I always looked at the lifeguards and wanted to be a lifeguard. So I began taking swimming lessons in Fire Island and then back here in the city. One day, I saw the swim team kids next to me while I was taking lessons and just decided that it was what I wanted to do.
JW: I loved to swim when I was little, but I was also balancing soccer and gymnastics. In the summers, I would stay in the water for about eight hours a day. I finally realized that if I wanted to be good at swimming then I would have to buckle down, so I dropped my other sports and focused on swimming.
Q: Swimming takes a lot of dedication and focus, especially competitive swimming. Do you think being a part of the AGUA team has taught you any lessons that you could apply to other areas of your life?
JW: Swimming has taught me to stay focused with whatever I do. In school, [swimming] has definitely helped me balance my time—because it takes up so much of my life. It also helps me stay focused on my work because I have a deadline. I use it as a tool to manage my time, and I notice a difference when I am not swimming.
MW: I think the biggest lesson it has taught me is how to persevere through really big challenges. Throughout swimming you go through plateaus—you know, times when you are not doing so well. But you have to know that you must work hard and keep working hard. You may not see results immediately, but you just have to keep working. In school, with studying and writing papers it helps to know that it may not be so much fun at that point and time, and you may get a bad grade, but you have to go back to the table, really put your head down and keep going.
JW: Just knowing that through the hardest of times, things will always get better. The feeling you get when you are successful—it is indescribable!
Q: We love that you are both so dedicated to the sport, but we REALLY love that you are giving back to the community. Why did you decide to volunteer for our free Waterproofing clinics and why do you think it is important?
MW: I’ve had swimming a part of my life for so long and never realized how much of a gift it was to be able to swim and come to a place like Asphalt Green every day. When I heard about the Waterproofing program, I thought, “What better way to give back to my community than by teaching others to love something that I love?”
JW: We take for granted the ability to swim. I am in the water at least once or twice a day. Being able to give back my gift or passion to people that don’t or can’t have it—because maybe their parents haven’t taught them how to swim or they don’t have access to a pool—and being able to teach the kids is the reason why we do it. It is so rewarding!
Jenna’s Fun Facts:
Favorite Color: Light Pink
Favorite Sport/Sports Team: Baseball, Yankees
Favorite Meal: Chicken Parmesan, Sushi
Professional Goals: Something in medicine or healthcare. I know I want to help people, and I know I love kids.
Cats or Dogs: DOGS!
Chunky or Smooth Peanut Butter: Smooth
Morgan’s Fun Facts:
Favorite Color: I’m colorblind—but I like Green!
Favorite Sport/Sports Team: Football, Giants
Favorite Meal: After a really hard practice, I want a big omelet with bacon, potatoes, toast—just crazy breakfast food
Professional Goals: I want to do something in business, but I really want to travel the world and become more cultured and experienced.
Cats or Dogs: Dogs
Chunky or Smooth Peanut Butter: Smooth