Lawrence’s swimming and diving team is currently on a hot streak, winning yet another meet, this time against Beloit College last Saturday. Again, they crushed their opponents 168-41. Lawrence’s swimming and diving team seems to have a pretty well-rounded group, considering multiple people on the team have been breaking records and finishing in first in multiple events. This past weekend, the water shone brightly on sophomore Erin Lengel, who not only came in first in the 100-meter backstroke (her time being 1:01.20), but also took first place in the 100-meter butterfly event. I asked Erin Lengel what she took in order to be so successful on Friday by coming in first in both the 100-meter backstroke and butterfly event. She responded by saying, “Just practicing and stretching every day.” The answer she gave seems so simple and concise, but when you start to think about all the practice hours that an athlete must put in a week, it starts to add up, taking away from that simplicity aspect. I do not believe Lengel meant to imply that it was an easy task to do, but, rather, she gave people the best advice in order to improve upon themselves: the idea that “practice makes perfect,” and as one can see with Erin Lengel’s results this past weekend, it does. I then proceeded to ask Erin if she considered swimming to be more of an individualistic sport or a team sport. She responded by saying: “I can always hear my teammates cheering for me, which makes me want to swim fast and do well for them! I would argue that swimming is more of a team sport because we all work countless hours both in and out of the water together, which is super fun and awesome! We all cheer for each other during practices, which is a positive and encouraging atmosphere to be around to motivate you to succeed!” I personally never thought of swimming and diving to be a team sport, especially when looking at other sports where it is more apparent that it would be like basketball or football, which is why I thought it was important to get an insider’s perspective. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter if the event you are in is done solo or not — you are still a part of a team, you wear the same letters, thus making you united, all striving together towards the same goal: success. I thought it would be interesting to compare her past times to the ones she obtained at the meet on Saturday, so I asked Erin what her times were and asked her how hard it is to decrease one’s time. Erin said, “I think my previous time for 100-fly was around 1:02.8, and my 100-back time was around 1:03-ish. It is pretty hard to drop times, but I just like to focus on swimming well for my team and hope that the times fall into place as the season carries on!” Looking at this, it seems, at least for her 100-meter backstroke, she dropped almost two seconds off of her backstroke (going from 1:03 to 1:01.20)! In the sport of swimming, every second — heck, every millisecond — counts. For Erin to drop such a huge time shows how determined and how hardworking she is, because it is not easy. Any time off at all is a big accomplishment, making the two full seconds she dropped an even bigger accomplishment. Lastly, I asked Erin what she is looking forward to this season and what her team goal would be. She said, “I am looking forward to watching my teammates swim super fast! My team goal would be to get second at Conference and beat Lake Forest!” Erin’s love for the sport and the precious bond that is present through Erin that she has with her teammates is why or what makes the swimming and diving sport have a strong team atmosphere versus having an individualistic approach.
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