Victor Section V swimmer found crocheting during pandemic

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Erin Dehollander is only 16 but the Victor High junior has spent a good amount of time in the pool.

“During Varsity, we train six days a week and then I actually swim on Victor Swim Club which trains all year round,” Dehollander said.

She took it up at a young age and found love for it in a unique way.

“I was like really into American Girl Doll and there was this movie and she swam I wanted to swim,” Dehollander said. “It was really cool.”

She wanted to master the craft and it seems so far, she has. Dehollander has swam on varsity since 7th seventh grade and made waves in Section V, in more ways than one.

“She seems to still to this point is the only seventh grader I’ve had test up and swim varsity as a seventh-grader for me here at Victor and from that time, she’s been a scoring threat,” said Victor Girls Swim Coach Brett Leader.

So much so that the Dehollander came into the season with a shot at setting new school records in both the 500-meter freestyle and the 100-meter breaststroke.

“I’ve worked really hard,” Dehollander said. “Just over the past few months with COVID. I mean like the past year has been difficult.”

Like so many others, those pandemic-induced difficulties created some stress. But she found a clever and constructive way to release it all: crocheting stuffed animals. It quickly went from being a coping exercise to a hobby.

“It kind of turned into, like, my thing,” Dehollander said. “I really enjoy crocheting, it’s like my favorite thing to do ever.”

She’s now sharing that joy with the rest of the team. Dehollander has gifted stuffed animals to her teammates as part of a team activity called "Big Little," where upper and underclassmen exchange gifts.

“One of the girls was walking around with a big stuffed bumble-bee last year and I said ‘where on earth did this come from,’” Leader joked. “Erin crocheted it and I had no idea what that was. Erin had to explain that to me. And I think that’s a great little tradition that the girls do and carry on.”

What’s become a passion on the side has its benefits in the pool.

“Crocheting is kind of something that I do especially when I’m stressed to kind of like recap my day and take a deep breath for a minute,” Dehollander said.

“I’ve noticed that her ability to maintain emotional control throughout the course of the season has improved,” Leader said. “That could just be a product of getting older and more mature but perhaps this has something to do with it.”