Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman Swimming Makes a Splash at Northwest Conference

Illustration by Mikayla Kelly

In a remarkable feat of athletic prowess, Whitman’s women’s swim team and men’s swim team emerged victorious at the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament on Feb. 11, placing 1st and 2nd respectively. The team’s collective dedication was evident throughout the competition, culminating in a decisive win that underscores their exceptional skills and cohesive performance. This achievement highlights the team’s commitment to excellence and solidifies their standing as a force to be reckoned with in collegiate athletics.

Senior Erin McKinney explained that the team’s focus on success began with the close of the last season.

Last spring after the Linfield Women’s team snagged first ahead of us, we had a women’s team meeting to talk about our goals for the next season. While this in itself isn’t unusual, the fire and dedication that every single member of our team brought to this discussion was something I hadn’t seen before,” McKinney said. “I think sometimes there’s a sort of shyness around expressing goals such as ‘winning’ in such direct terms, but there we were, holding up this goal with no hint of apprehension.” 

Junior Shaye Agnew, who was awarded the NWC Swimmer of the Year title, reflected on the team’s shared determination that created an attitude of resilience, aiding in an unwavering pursuit of the teams’ goals. Agnew also centered the critical role of coaches in cultivating an atmosphere that cultivates success.

“It’s always such a blast swimming at this meet every year. Winning my first and second gold medal was so much fun. Coach Jenn’s, Stuart’s and Jamie’s workouts are always very planned out and we are confident that the coaches know what they’re doing. We just have to trust the process and believe that our hard work will pay off … and it did,” Agnew said.

For Agnew, the joy of securing her first and second gold medals accentuated the sense of accomplishment derived from the rigorous training regimen, making it feel like the hard work of the season has payed off. Agnew reflected on how the team hopes to repeat their victory next year despite some changes in the team’s composition.

“Next year, just like every year, will be a little different. We are losing some amazing seniors and it’s always hard to move on without them,” Agnew said. “I think it’s super important to enjoy our accomplishments and be proud of what we’ve done, but we also need to ride this high into the next season. We are going to keep working hard and pushing ourselves because we know we can.” 

Sophomore Olivia Briggs explained how the team’s tenacity helped them to overcome challenges that arose throughout the season, giving them the tools to celebrate small victories.

“The month right before the Conference, the women’s team faced a lot of illness and injury, there was a concern that we wouldn’t have all our swimmers in competing shape,” Briggs said. “Coach Jenn sat us down and reminded us that, even though this meet was at the end of our season, it wasn’t a collective show of all the victories we’d had this season. There had been mental victories in our training and dual meets and physical victories in the weight room and pool.”

Senior Zola Lungershausen agreed with Briggs’s sentiment, emphasizing the team’s collective response to setbacks as crucial to forming new goals that are catered to the team’s specific environment.

Over the course of the past year, I have watched the women’s team suffer through a setback, process it, form a new goal and work incredibly hard to make the changes and the improvements needed to achieve it,” Lungershausen said. “Aside from the insane athletic progress our team has made, I have seen people supporting and loving each other even more than the past years I’ve been on this team (which is something I didn’t think was possible). I think our success in this season is not only because of all the hard work and effort we’ve put in, but all the immense support we’ve given each other.” 

Sophomore Josephine Piel explained how a healthy sense of competition following the women’s team’s performance last year was a driving force during training.

As far as changes go for our training, this year the women’s team was extra motivated by our second place finish to Linfield last year so we all shared the common goal to beat Linfield,” Piel said. “This created a really exciting training environment and it kept us hyped up and ready to go leading us into the Conference!”

The women’s swim team’s journey throughout the past year stands as a testament to their resilience, determination and unwavering support for one another. Their reflections show the profound support within the team and emphasize the integral role of encouragement in their success. As the women’s team celebrates their achievements and reflects on the challenges overcome, it becomes evident that the true strength lies not just in the victories within the pool but in the bonds forged and the mutual encouragement that defines their journey. 

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