A few years ago, I was absolutely sure I would not, and did not want to, swim in college. I was convinced it was too hard and out of my reach and just something that wasn’t for me. But now, I cannot imagine where I would be without this team, this family I have found.
As you can probably gather, my mind changed in the years between now and then, and I am beyond happy with my decision to swim here at Whitman.
I had a built-in support system the minute I arrived. There were literally swimmers waiting outside my door to help move me into my room- and it is only continuing to grow stronger. Every time I pass a teammate crossing Ankeny Field, or run into them in the library, we share a hello or a joke and I get that lil’ warm fuzzy feeling that is being a part of something bigger than myself, lucky to have a built in family that always has my back, no matter what. That is one of the great things about a small school like Whitman, you will always be surrounded by, greeted by, and looked out for by people who truly care and can always offer an encouraging smile, wave, hello, hug.
Not only does this team act as a support network, it’s a platform to get involved- both in the Whitman community and the larger Walla Walla community. We (being the swim team, but also Whitman Athletics as a whole) have a united and respected presence on campus, and try to lead by example, supporting programs like Athletes for Consent Education, fundraising for cancer research through participating in the Hour of Power with local high school swimmers, and even teaching swim lessons to the community.
It’s only been a few months, but I have already laughed more than ever, trained really hard, and had some super rewarding experiences with this group of swimmers- so I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year, and three more, will hold. The energy is infectious.
So. If you are at all considering playing sports in college, especially at Whitman, or another Division-3 school, I cannot recommend it enough. I am so lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people, who share a love for the same sport and are bonded together by a common goal. We’re all in it for fun, for a challenge, for each other, and not because someone’s paying us to be there. I’ve truly found some of the most genuine, kind, driven, hilarious, ridiculous, and caring people on this team, and I cannot imagine my time here at Whitman without them. Of course, you don’t need to be on a sports team to make friends, there are so many amazing people who aren’t, and other organizations to join, but teammates that are both friends and family are absolutely priceless (and I know, I know, this is ridiculously cliche, but hey, it’s true).