By JOHN WYATT – STAFF WRITER
The months of September through April are always considered the busiest months in sports.
Football dominates attention in the fall, while basketball entertains sports fans during the winter and spring months. But Swimming and Diving’s season goes throughout the entire fall to spring period.
Centre’s swimmers and divers have one of the longest seasons in athletics, lasting through the majority of Centre’s school year. They encounter challenges that other Centre athletes do not have to face, such as not being able to study abroad without missing a portion of their season. Swimmers also go through morning and afternoon practices throughout their entire season.
According to swimmers, time management is crucial when having to balance all of the other things that come with being a Centre student.
“You learn how to sleep when you can and do work when you can, but still find time to have fun with friends and teammates,” sophomore Kirsten Larson said.
“You can’t really procrastinate on stuff,” junior Danielle Wahl said. “For me, I like to break up things by section; so right now I’m in the section where I just have to push myself through to Thanksgiving break.”
Even for seniors, the long season still presents a challenge in time management.
“Organization is the key really; not only to having a successful academic career but a successful swimming career as well,” senior Gordon Duren said.
The organization has helped build the success of swim team this past season.
Last year, Centre’s Swimming and Diving team won the Southern Athletic Association Conference Tournament in both Men and Women’s Swimming, with the men winning by just half a point. For the swim team, it was definitely a special moment.
“Winning conference was such a great experience for everyone. I remember when they announced we had beaten Sewanee by half a point, and it was just overwhelming; people were crying and screaming and hugging,” Duren said.
Centre Swimmers and Divers know championships do not come easily, and are preparing to go after it again.
“We have a big target on our back right now. We’re the team to beat. We’re constantly swimming to make sure people don’t feel too comfortable,” Duren said.
“We just have to stay focused and as cool as winning conference was, we need to focus on the present,” Wahl said.
Centre also hopes their eleven new first-years can help them reach their goal of winning conference for a second consecutive year.
First-year Patrick Wells isn’t letting the high goal deter him.
“I can’t wait to contribute to the team at conference and hopefully share in another victory,” Wells said. “As a first-year I’m still finding out where I’ll fit on the team, but so far it’s been a lot of fun swimming with a new group of people.”
Not only has the swim team enjoyed success as a group, individual members have also been successful in their endeavors outside of official meets.
Danielle Wahl swam the English Channel this past year.
“I’ve always wanted to do it; it’s something I really wanted since a young age, and this summer everything just came together,” Wahl said.
As for training, the most important part of preparing for the swim was the cold temperatures she would encounter while swimming.
“I had to build cold water tolerance up through ice baths and lots of swimming,” Wahl said. “It was cold; the water temperature was two degrees colder than I prepared for,” Wahl said.
Despite being stung six times by jellyfish, Wahl describes her swim as “a really amazing experience.” The swim, in total, took Wahl nine hours and 48 minutes, the distance being 22 miles total.
Look for the swim team to be competitive this year, defending their conference win.
“With all the teams receiving a new (first-year) class and graduating their senior class, anything can happen, which means that we will just have to work hard and let that show in the end,” Larson said.