By Jacob Loel
Yes, the rumors are true! The University of Dallas will have a swim club for the upcoming school year. The club, led mainly by juniors, has its roots in unlikely places.
Long before most of the junior class had ever heard of Groundhog Day, the Bubble or the Core, several of these future UDers were already starting their swimming careers.
Swimming is a sport that requires year-round commitment and diligence. When it came time to choose a college, some of us chose to follow our faith, our nerdy love of liberal arts or our siblings in coming to UD at the cost of giving up our years of hard work in the pool and the dream of competing at the collegiate level. Several gave up the chance to become Division I athletes. Nearly one year ago, the current club president Hank Walter and I found ourselves sitting next to each other on a train returning from Cinque Terre, exhausted by our first weekend of freedom during our Rome semester. We spoke for a while about how much we missed the sport, and soon we spread our interest to the other former swimmers, both in Rome and in Dallas. Suddenly, we had an impromptu team. After spending the spring semester of 2014 as well as this summer working to make the club a reality, UD Swimming is ready to make a splash.
The club has 31 registered members and counting, and it has recently registered as an official club sport. UD Swimming will compete in the Southwest Swim League, a club league with several teams in the Dallas area, including the University of Texas at Dallas and Dallas Baptist University. Practices will begin in the campus pool and will continue at North Lake College when the weather turns cold.
For those of you who want to avoid the club at the pool, practices will be about an hour long and will tentatively be Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday at noon. For those of you who are interested, or are even considering being part of the club, please come to a practice and talk to the team officials.
Several athletes from the school have posed concerns about swimming replacing their sport. While the team hopes to be a Division III sport one day and compete for UD, we hope this will happen without other athletes being denied the honor of competing for their school.
“Since swimming is a low contact sport, the club welcomes athletes from other sports to work out with us if they are injured or in the off season, in order to stay in shape,” said junior Elizabeth Schmitz, fundraising coordinator.
A related concern is that the sport will take away from the popularity of other athletic programs. Historically, swimming does not detract from the popularity of other sports at schools. Luke Goveas, vice president of UD’s rugby club, says that he still feels intimidated by the “manly men in speedos” and fears for the popularity of his sport.
At this point, whether or not swimming is a good fit for the university remains to be seen, but UD Swimming promises to try to avoid taking away from Hoggie glory or the popularity of Crusader athletics. Instead, the team is just here to fulfill any current or future Crusader’s dream of competing in the cool blue of a pool under the Texas sun.