Grace, Caroline, and Isabel Ramirez have been Cincinnati Country Day School students since they were 18 months old and have been swimming together for nearly as long. "My first memory of them swimming is of them learning to swim with floaties on in my mom's backyard pool," said their mother, Tracy Ramirez.
The sisters have swam with the Cincinnati Aquatics Club, which is a USA competitive swim team that operates out of the Leonard Family Athletic Center on Country Day's campus, since they were each five years old, but this is the first year the sisters have been able to swim on a relay together.
"Whenever we've done club swimming we've been too far apart in age to swim together competitively," explained Grace. "Because my sisters are now in high school, this was the first year I have been able to swim on a relay with them and it has been a lot of fun."
Earlier this month, Mia Latimer '23, Grace Ramirez '21, Caroline Ramirez '24, and Izzy Ramirez '24 set a new school record in the 200-medley relay, and finished in second place in the 400-free relay and overall at the 2021 southwest district meet, qualifying them for the state competition.
"Participating competitively in a sport can be grueling and frustrating. They've worked really hard and it's nice to see their hard work pay off," said Tracy. "And it's fun for them to share this experience together; it is something they will always have."
In addition to participating in a sport with each other and their school friends, Tracy credits the school's accessible and well-balanced approach to academics and extracurriculars for her daughters' success in the pool and in the classroom.
"Not only did they learn about winning and losing, but they've also learned about the dedication it takes to be good at something. Through swimming and participating in other extracurriculars, they have discovered positive ways to work through stress, conflict, and self-doubt. They have learned about time management. They have learned how to set limits. The athletics program, like most programs at Country Day, is incredible and provides our children with the opportunity to try something and not be afraid to fail. All of these are invaluable lessons they will take with them well after they graduate."
Grace could not agree with her mom more. Because Country Day operates a "no cut" policy, students are provided the chance to participate in sports they might not have the chance to otherwise or elsewhere.
Isabel was on the varsity soccer team this year and loves playing lacrosse. She also participated in tennis, soccer, swimming, and lacrosse in middle school. Caroline ran cross country for Country Day this past fall and participated in cross country, swimming and lacrosse in middle school. Both girls were also in two high school musical productions while in middle school. Isabel also served on environmental council and was a service rep in middle school.
Grace performed as Rafiki in the 8th grade school musical and has participated in every talent show since 5th grade. She tutors for Students Helping Students and is an editor for InWords, an Upper School arts publication. Grace has swam competitively for the school for four years but
has also played tennis for four years and was a member of the cheerleading team for the first time this year.
"Not only am I able to learn new skills and perfect myself athletically, by participating in multiple activities I have learned how to communicate more effectively, manage my time more efficiently, conduct myself in an appropriate way even when things don't go my way, and interact with teammates from all over the city. I love that I have multiple opportunities to compete and show pride for my school."
While twins Isabel and Caroline have more than three years left at Cincinnati Country Day School, senior Grace recently signed a letter of intent with Kenyon College to swim at the collegiate level next school year. She is looking forward to swimming at the Division III school and "loves everything about it" but is happy the campus is close to home.
"The best thing about Country Day is the people, and I will miss my friends, coaches, and teachers," said Grace. "Right now, I can go into a teacher's office and talk about anything. I know all the lunch staffs' names and they know mine. And my swim coaches have made such a difference in my life and the lives of my teammates. They [Amy Robillard and Nat Tracey Miller] balance each other, and they balance and inspire me every day to be and do better. I know I'm lucky to have a community where all of this is not only possible but it's the norm."
While the school is known for its excellent academics, Grace also encourages those Country Day students younger than she to get involved in as much as they can. "The more involved you are, the better. Don't be afraid to try new things. Don't be afraid to support your school. If you can't play a sport, then go support our teams and your peers. We have such an incredible community here at Country Day."