The William Jewell College swim team kicked off its season Oct. 7 at the University of Missouri. The team hosted their first event at Jewell Oct. 22 against Maryville University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Both the men’s and women’s teams beat UMSL and Maryville.
The team has been having long practices in anticipation of the start of the season.
“The past eight weeks have been challenging for most of the team,” said junior chemistry major Alexandra Millhuff, “We have doubles every weekday and the majority of us are starting to feel pretty tired at this point in the season, but we have already started to see our work pay off. Yesterday we hosted our first home meet of the season against Maryville and the University of Missouri St. Louis, and a lot of my teammates went in-season best times. Both the women’s team and the men’s team won by a landslide.”
The team has grown in size since last year to a total of 48 members and has high hopes for achieving their goals. The women’s team in particular is aiming to place well at Conference and send a relay team to Nationals.
“This year the women’s team is trying to place 3rd at our conference meet,” said Millhuff, “the past two years, we have placed fourth behind University of Indianapolis. They will not be an easy team to catch, but we have a lot of solid freshman on our team who are making immediate impacts to our program. We also have a lot of freshman who we’re expecting to see big improvements.”
First-year international relations major Delaney Haralson discussed joining the team this year and the team’s dynamic.
“I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this team in the little time I’ve been here,” said Haralson, “The team aspect is really important for Coach Gole and we’re always pumping each other up at practice, which is something I’ve never had before.”
Work ethic and respect are among the core values of the team. As a whole, the group strives to do well not only in the sport, but also academically. The team is working to improve their overall team GPA.
“This year some of the standards in and out of the pool have been raised,” said sophomore elementary education major Carley Wood, “For example, we have increased the number of study hours each week, so that the team can achieve a higher GPA. Also, we all have goal times we want to accomplish by the end of the season… As a team we have respect for one another, so we know that if we fail to meet those standards, we are not only letting ourselves down but we are letting our team down.”
The Great Lakes Valley Conference championships will occur in February this year and the team hopes to achieve faster times and post higher than they ever have before.
“The team has improved drastically over the past few years,” said junior biology major Bryan Hahn, “And I think this is accredited to the fact that both the men and women really are kind of one big family and support group. We all support each and want to see each other achieve our goals, and when you get teams like that, great things are bound to happen.”
The team’s next competition is Nov. 4 and 5 at Drury University. Their next home competition is Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. in the Mabee Center against Lewis University.