Four cans of Barbasol men’s shaving cream and a package of Veet waxing strips lined the windowsill of swim captain senior Jacob Loel’s bathroom. In the background, Shakira, Ke$ha and Enrique Iglesias blasted at full volume. This was not some bizarre hazing ritual. This was simply the Swim Club doing what they do best — loving the sport to which they are so joyously dedicated.
The men’s shaving of their legs, a wacky tradition amidst the swim team world, came in preparation for the club’s last meet of the season — the Southwest Swim League Championships. The weekend concluded with successes for both the men’s and women’s teams. The girls earned a trophy in third place overall, while the men earned fourth and tallied many excellent individual performances.
Loel was ecstatic as he reflected on the performance of the girls, noting especially the effort of sophomore Julia Ringel, who swam five separate events over the course of the day, a feat that is especially rare in the swimming world.
For those not aware of the difficulty of this task, the mental and physical exhaustion is hard to imagine. Each event is meant to push the limits of physical exertion, making recovery from such a strenuous activity arduous. To do five such events over the span of four to five hours is a task not many would be able to face.
When asked whether she thought to hold back or restrain herself during the events in order to save energy throughout the day, Ringel was adamant in her answer.
“Absolutely not,” Ringel said. “I just tried to take a step back and visualize my race before my events.”
Beyond Ringel, the entire girls team exceled in the water. Exceptional performances came from freshman Maureen O’Toole and junior Sydney McCloskey. The girls won the freestyle relay and placed second in the medley relay.
On the men’s side, the team was led by captain-elect junior Nick Dodson, who swam four events, placed fifth in the 50-yard butterfly and won the 200-yard breaststroke.
“I was really happy about the 200 breast,” Dodson remarked. “I’ve been working really hard on my breaststroke kick so it paid off.”
Looking forward to next year, Dodson and president junior Andrew Jacob have big plans to move the swim team to new heights.
“Next year we are hoping to get a lot of freshmen involved,” Dodson noted. “People have expressed a lot of interest … we are going to try to create more social events to get people more involved and make [it] a little more fun.”
To build team camaraderie, Dodson has plans for a very unique form of fundraising.
“Maybe a swim calendar,” Dodson said. “I think we’ll be able to get some good poses in there in our Speedos.”
Logistically, Dodson noted that any funds raised would hopefully be devoted toward increased participation in swim meets, as the team was only able to compete in two meets over this past semester.
“We want to participate in more meets,” Dodson said. “[Or] maybe we can afford some more lanes to swim in.”
Possibly even more exciting is the possibility of participating in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship meet next year.
Nothing is set in stone regarding the matter, but Dodson reflected optimistically on the issue. He is excited to move the club forward in hopes of one day becoming an NCAA-recognized sport.
With the season concluded, the team can reflect upon the season with optimism and well-deserved pride. A solid core of returning swimmers is ready to take the reigns of this young program.