By Swimming World Interns Brook Jiang and Heidi Torregroza
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 12. TO say the Zeiger family is a swimming family like no other would be a modest statement. With three sisters competing in the CeraVe Invitational and an overwhelming number of victories, they are a crucial part of the Bluefish Swim Club.
“It’s very hard to not talk about swimming at home,” said Brooke Zeiger, 18. “We all swim.”
When thinking about things that her family does outside of swimming, Brooke pondered seriously for several moments before finally saying, “not that much.” But, that’s the benefit of being a swimming family.
“Everyone can relate to each other,” commented Liz Zeiger 15. “We talk about swimming while eating dinner.”
At the start of their careers, Brooke and Liz were rivals. Liz was a member of the Jersey Flyers Aquatic Club and Brooke was at Bluefish. That soon changed as Liz inevitably transferred to Bluefish.
From the moment they leaped into their first race against each other in 2012, they knew they were not only obligated to be each other’s motivators, but also one another’s competition. With both of them having their strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of the sport, it’s easy to rely to each other for advice on what to do next. They’ve raced multiple times already at the CeraVe Invitational and competed on relays together.
“Dream family” is the way Bluefish Head Coach Chuck Batchelor describes the Zeigers. The parents were swimmers, meaning the kids had big pairs of shoes to fill from the start of their careers.
“When it comes to ability, they all work for their talents,” Batchelor said. “They hardly ever miss a practice, and the family is always among the last ones to leave events.”
Rebecca, the youngest sister at 13 years old, has also shown great skill and determination in the CeraVe Invitational. She loves sharing swimming with all her sisters.
With four hours daily devoted to swimming, the Zeigers manage to get together over the weekend for family time.
“We watch movies together, and it’s just great to have everyone in the room at the same time,” said Liz. “Sometimes after a meet, my mom will make us a nice dessert … anything sweet like chocolate chip cookies.”
Last night, the Zeiger parents made a surprise appearance at the meet to congratulate their daughters and provide warm hugs. The girls constantly travel to meets, so their parents are a wonderful source of support.
Brooke and Liz are also planning a joint birthday celebration next weekend. Liz plans to cook a meal for her family, and Brooke wants to make her own cake. Both sisters like to bake and cook outside of swimming, with both activities providing an outlet outside of the pool.
“Swimming comes naturally,” said Brooke. “It’s in the blood.”
When asked to recall their first time swimming, Brooke and Liz both laughed at the memory.
“It was scary. My mom had to push me in,” said Liz.
But after the first dip, the Zeiger sisters fell in love with the sport. That love is often shared in the Zeiger Relay, which includes oldest sister Blake. Four Zeiger sisters in one relay is a sight to see!
“We’re very involved,” said the Zeiger sisters. “After all, we are family.”
A family very much involved in swimming, to be sure. After the season ends, the Zeiger family travels to North Hampshire for a much-needed vacation. They always try to not talk about swimming, but the topic always ends up related to it.