The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Swim team stays committed through rough waters

Loud splashes. Grueling practices. A constant smell of chlorine.

Welcome to the life of the Guilford College swim team.

Although some students may have forgotten about them,  the swim team continues to make a splash in the Old Dominion Athletic  Competition.

“We’re starting out the season much stronger (than last year),” said team member and junior Hannah Brewer-Jensen.

“Even though we only have eight swimmers on the team, we’re still managing to keep the team strong.”

The team continues to improve despite the challenges its members face.

One of the biggest that team members cite is the lack of a pool on campus.

Guilford had a pool in the Alumni Gym, but the school closed it in 2009 due to major structural concerns and filled it in with concrete to create an  above-ground workout space.

Currently, the team practices in the evening at the American Hebrew Academy’s pool, a five minute drive from campus.

“This facility is beautiful,” said Emily Wilson, head women’s swimming coach, as her swimmers swam laps in the pool. “Even the temperature that they keep the pool at is very close to what you would get at a championship meet.”

But, the swim team must work around the Academy’s schedule, so they have to hold practices in the evening. They also cannot hold meets at the facility, which means they must travel more than their competition.

Despite this setback, the team continues to work hard.

“I think that even though we don’t have our own pool, we have a really strong community of swimmers and our team is really tight-knit,” said Brewer-Jensen.

“It sort of feels like wherever we go, we’re kind of at home because of the relationships between teammates.”

The team’s size poses challenges for the swimmers and coaches as well. Decreased awareness on campus since the closing of the pool has led to a decrease in recruitment. They remain short of Wilson’s goal of 15 swimmers.

“To really do well in meets, you need swimmers on the (score) board to get points,” said Caitlin Young, junior and one of the team’s two captains. “It’s definitely the numbers (that) are hard because we all do put in the effort, but we can only do so much with so many people.”

Athletes attempt to compensate for the team’s small size by swimming as many events as possible. Unfortunately, that extra effort has consequences.

“Even if we swim a lot of events, we get tired,” said Brewer-Jensen. “Bigger teams have fresher people for each event. Although, I guess that it’s good; we’re getting a lot of exercise that way.”

When they find themselves in over their heads, the team’s positive attitude and tight-knit nature keeps them going.

“I love each and every one of my teammates,” said senior swimmer Morgan McKinnon, the swim team’s co-captain in an email interview.

“I want to see each of them reach their full potential. I hold myself to a high standard and my teammates as well because I see all of the potential we have, and I know how great we are and how much better we can be.”

The team is optimistic about their chances this year and in the future.

Some returning members have already posted personal-best times. First-year Isabel Gutierrez has swum some of the best times in school history for the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-meter freestyle and 100-yard backstroke.

Despite the choppy waters, coach Wilson remains inspired by how well the team works together.

“It’s an amazing group of women that I’m able to work with,” said Wilson. “This is my eighth year being here, and every year I’ve been incredibly impressed with the work ethic and the impact they’ve had on me. I’ve always had such a great experience with the women on the team.

“They’re a good group. They always are.”

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