Whitman swim team supports sarcoma research in relay event

Sarah Debs

Last week the Whitman swim team joined 150 other colleges worldwide in the annual Hour of Power, a swim relay consisting of an hour of continuous sprints in honor of Carleton College swimmer Ted Mullin, who passed away in 2006 from sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer. Hour of Power, which took place on Nov. 8,   raises funds for research at the University of Chicago regarding treatments and cures for sarcoma.

During this year’s event, the Whitman swim team stood on the pool deck wearing navy swim caps with “Cancer Sucks” printed in large letters, dancing to high-energy music and cheering on those in the water while waiting for their turn to swim. In just an hour, the team totaled an impressive 6,100 yards.

Whitman first became involved in Hour of Power five years ago when the swim program was approached by Carleton coach and Whitman alumnus Andy Clark as well as Rick and Mary Mullin, Ted Mullin’s parents. The event, reflecting Mullin’s love for swimming, was his favorite workout to do with his team.

“I and our team are moved by what we have learned about Ted Mullin’s character and his story. He had an incredible spirit that drove him to work hard (‘leave it in the pool’) and to give everything he had to his teammates even while he was battling this terrible illness. That is something I want to honor,” said Head Coach Jenn Blomme, who organized her team’s participation in the event.

Hour of Power is unique opportunity for athletes to swim not as individuals but as a team. The event is time for the team to come together as they work towards a larger goal.

“Swimming can be a selfish sport if you’re only concentrating on yourself, your times, your technique. This goes beyond all that and it’s really fun to be a part of that bigger scale,” said junior Andrew Roehrig. “At the same time, it is such a great bonding experience because there’s just so much energy.”

The athletes participating in the event appreciate the experience to swim for something larger than themselves because it encourages self-reflection.

“Events like these makes you realize how much you take things for granted,” said first-year Nic Win.

“You have a lot of opportunities, and sometimes you just go through the motions. Something like this makes you more conscious about decisions you make. It is very inspirational.”

Coach Blomme sees a positive future for Hour of Power.

“I hope it continues to grow and gain more publicity. We were really excited to lead the charge this year in getting nearly full participation from all the Northwest Conference swim teams. I’d like to see that grow and grow. I hope that with the great swimming community being forged all across the country that we are able to help support more research for sarcoma.”

Credit: Marie von Hafften


Credit: Marie von Hafften