Lack of facilities, members cause troubled waters


Matthew Jones/Guilfordian

“It’s a nice way to end the day a lot of the time,” said junior swimmer Nina Troy. “I hope for next season that we do better, get more team members and that we get more personal bests for our team as well as win more races.”

The women’s swim team season concluded on Feb. 15 when they placed ninth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships. While team members Morgan McKinnon, Caitlin Young, Alex Barbour and Jocelyn Gesner set their fastest times at the championships, the team finished with a score of 104 (vs. the top-scoring Washington and Lee with 936.2).

“It was a lot of fun, but we’ve had a lot of trouble keeping girls on the team,” said Isabel Gutierrez, first-year swimmer and top performer at the championship final. “Sometimes because of students dropping out. Other teams have 30 or 40 swimmers, and they get into a lot of events with several opportunities to score points, and most teams also have their own pool.

“I think having a pool would help our recruiting process and give us the opportunity to train more and increase our rank in the ODAC.”

The team has not had an on-campus place to practice since the former Ragan-Brown pool was found to have costly infrastructure problems and was filled in in 2009. This may help to explain why the team’s last victory was against Emory & Henry on Jan. 22, 2012. Their situation is similar to that of the track and field team, which does not have an on-campus track.

“The (swim team’s) competitions aren’t on campus, and their friends can’t readily come and watch them compete,” said David Walters, sports information officer. “We don’t have signs on campus advertising their events like we do for the lacrosse team or soccer team.”

Due to the current budget crisis, this situation will continue. There will be no new pool.

“It’s not this team, but I feel like we haven’t been given full opportunities,” said Gutierrez. “Also, having a men’s swim team would be nice. We almost had one but it fell through.

“Although our conference is mostly girls and just a few of the schools compete in the ODAC, it would definitely mean more money being spent on trips and training.”

While a male team could be a great addition to the athletic program, it would create a Title IX issue, as it would mean more men’s teams than women’s teams exist at Guilford.

On top of students leaving, due to the team’s small roster of eight, students missing meets can cause difficulties for the athletes.

“I missed a lot of practices because of theater and the week leading up to ODAC was the week for ‘The Crucible,’ so I wasn’t as on my game as I could have been,” said Troy. “When you’re not able to show up, the other girls have to swim your event as well and the ODAC requires that you have at least eight players at events. It’s never a huge issue, but we have had some difficulty.”

The swim team is in need of recruits. If you’re interested in trying out for the team, contact head coach Emily Wilson.