Whitman Swimming dives into the depths of success

Alexa Grechishkin, Campus Life Reporter

The Whitman Swim Team erupted into celebration following the men’s and women’s teams’ respective claims to first and second place at the Northwest Conference. For the men’s team, the victory was the first since 2017 and reflected the dedication of the swimmers competing. Facing formidable opponents from colleges across the Pacific Northwest, the Whitman Swim Team emerged victorious thanks to a team culture that prioritized community alongside athletic excellence. 

The three-day conference was hosted in Federal Way, Washington at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center from Feb. 9 through Feb. 12. Races were hosted in a variety of events contributing to the teams’ overall rankings. 

Junior Theo Delmonaco explained that the team achievements at the NWC reflected the individual efforts and determination of each swimmer on the team.

Photo contributed by John Barry.

“We have a lot of individual stories with certain events, and we had a lot of personal wins as well as the big collective win. I’d even say the individual wins were more inspiring; we were just going bonkers,” Delmonaco said. “We were so excited, so much had gone into [the wins]; [the victory] literally came down to one or two races.” 

Sophomore Shaye Agnew highlighted a supportive team culture as a driving force in the team’s success.

“[The swim team is] really just a big family, and we’re all here for each other. Winning is fun, but that’s not our main goal on this team,” Agnew said. “[The main goal] is to be there for each other, and the culture is all about that: swimming to have a good time and supporting one another.” 

For Head Swimming Coach Jenn Blomme, cultivating a healthy team environment begins with rejecting the notion that swimming is a solitary sport. Blomme prioritizes connections between teammates. 

“Swimming is often treated as such an individual pursuit. My hope is to create a true team experience where everything we do, whether in practice or in competition, we do to contribute to the team,” Blomme said. “In our own individual performances, we know the team will be there for us, whether to pick us up from a low moment, or celebrate our victories with us.”

Photo contributed John Barry.

Delmonaco credited this year’s seniors for their maintenance of a positive team culture, and he looks forward to welcoming new first-year swimmers onto the team this fall.

“It’s my job, and other upperclassmen’s job, to help the freshmen coming in this year, set the same standards, create the same fun cultures and help them to really feel welcomed,” Delmonaco said. 

Both Agnew and Delmonaco stressed the importance of maintaining mental and physical health for competitive success.

“Sometimes, [Blomme] works us through a yoga session or a more mindful relaxation exercise,” Agnew said. 

For Whitman Swim, success in the water translates to victories in the classroom, as both teams earned Academic All American recognition from the College Swim Coaches Association of America. Next, the team will be supporting Tanner Filion as he heads to the NCAA National Meet.

As the swim team continues to uphold excellence in and out of the water, they celebrate victory and set the standard for future Whittie swimmers.