Armen and Nicole Swim for New Way’s New Swim Team

Armen Demirjian

Tell us about New Way Academy’s first year swim team?

New Way Academy’s first year for having a swim team has been wonderful.  Everyone tries their best and we have the greatest coaches.  We have swimmers in elementary school as well as the high school level.  Our practice facility is not far from our school and we all look forward to going to practice and swim meets because they are fun.

Do you prefer swimming long distances or short? What is your favorite event?

I like all of them, but if I have to choose I’d say I prefer to swim 50 freestyle.  That is a short race.

How long have you been swimming? Who taught you?

I started swimming before I was a year old.  It was important for my parents to have me learn to swim because we have a pool in our back yard.  After learning survival skills for swimming as a baby, my teacher then taught me the basics.  My very first instructor was Susan Mackie in Fountain Hills.

Who/What are your major influences that drive you through the water and keep you going?

Trying to beat my best time.  I stay focused on that when I am swimming.


Nicole Ripp

Tell us about your first year being on New Way Academy’s swim team?

This is my first season on the swim team.  I love the swim team.  I am currently on a swim team and this is fun for me because I can show other people how to do turns and strokes.

Do you prefer to swim long distances or short distances?

I like them both, its just fun to swim long and short distances.  I just like to do swimming because I know its good for my body.

What is your favorite event?

My favorite event is the breast stroke.  I also like freestyle because you get to swim fast.

How long have you been swimming?

I have been swimming ever since I was six years old.

Who taught you how to swim?

My mom first taught me when I could go in a pool as a baby. Coach Brian Methany, the coach at Sunnyslope High School, he taught me the strokes while I was swimming for Christown YMCA.

Who motivates you while you are swimming?

Mostly parents and teachers motivate us.  They cheer me on and when I am done they tell me they are ‘proud of me.’

Armen and Nicole are 9th graders at New Way Academy.

“New Way’s first swim team has been a huge success!  Our team is comprised of 23 swimmers from 5th grade to 12th grade.  We have two assistant coaches, Linda Bonnell (New Way’s art teacher) and student alumni Oriana Lelli, who help during practices and meets.  Our swimmers range from Special Olympic swimmers, club team swimmers and students who have never swam competitively before.  We compete with the CAA and swim against roughly six other schools from around the state weekly.

It’s been amazing to see these kid come together as a team, support one another and overcome their fears of trying something new.  The fast­paced environment of competing in meets was nerve wracking for many, and after just a few short weeks these swimmers have shined and become confident athletes.  The opportunity for the students to be a part of the swim team builds important life skills for their future in and outside of school.”

-Swim Coach, Marilyn Weiskopf



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