“Swim with no regrets:” Four years of Whitman Swimming

Audrey Marthin, Podcast Reporter

After opening the season with a win over University of Puget Sound on Nov. 4, Whitman Swimming hopes to maintain this streak. Senior swimmer Kathryn Woodburn reflects on her time with the team over the past four years, discussing her time in and out of the pool.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Wire: So, you’re a chemistry major and also on the swim team, I’m wondering how you balance your academic and athletic life? Are there resources for the team?

Kathryn Woodburn: It’s definitely a balance and ever changing. But I would say there’s a lot of support from both sides of the swim team. 

Our coaches are really great about having resources for us: making sure we know about the Academic Resource Center, COWS or encouraging us to go to professors’ office hours.

From the team itself, all the upperclassmen compiled this Google Sheet where we have our names, our contact info [and] any classes we’ve taken that we can also help each other with. 

In terms of balancing that with chemistry, it’s a juggle, but the professors in that department have been really respectful of my time with swimming. I’m a scholar athlete, and the scholar part comes first, so I definitely prioritize school. Swimming, for me, is a mental break and a chance to be social with the team.

Wire: You have training, class and research schedules. Do you have less time to socialize and relax in between all that during the season?

KW: I kind of view it as finding the little moments. I’m an upperclassman, [so] I’m off campus, but I tend to eat at Cleveland with the team a lot.

That’s one of my ways of staying social and checking in on all the first-years and sophomores. It’s a lot of finding the fun in the work.

Wire: Since you’re in your senior year right now, what are your overall impressions of the swim team from your four years?

KW: We say it all the time, but it’s been a swim family for me.

We live our life on the team by our motto “STL,” which is “swim team love.” It sounds cheesy, but we make sure at the beginning of the year [to] talk about our team goals.

We want to be compassionate. We want to have grit in practice. We want to make practice a safe space for everyone on deck. We want to check in on each other. There’s a lot of taking care of each other on that team that I’ve really appreciated. 

I remember when I was a first-year, the seniors really took me under their wing … As I’ve grown [with] the team, I really want to be that for the younger swimmers. 

Wire: What are your goals for this season? 

KW: [I want to] savor the season. [I want to] really take it in and enjoy this last year.

Wire: And swim with no regrets. 

KW: Exactly. 

Whitman Swimming travels to Willamette University on Nov. 18 for their next meet.

This is only one of The Wire’s interviews with Whitman Swimming. For another conversation with a current student and reflections from alumni, listen to this week’s episode of the “Whitman Wire Podcast,” released at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18.