Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Love This (Family) Team

I joined my first swim team when I was five years old. I’ve practiced and competed in every stroke, distance, and event approved by USA Swimming countless times. I’m far more comfortable in a pool than I am in most places on land. I spend two hours in the water every day at practice reflecting on my day, my future, my friends, and my family. I’ve fallen in love with the smell of chlorine, the sound of splashing water, and the finesse that every stroke requires.

Can you imagine this munchkin without a pool?
I knew when I began my college search that I wanted to continue competing at a varsity level. Of course, any school I found had to meet various academic criteria, but it also needed to have a swim team.

Luckily, my search brought me to Macalester.

My freshman year, I found myself welcomed into a family full of the most passionate
people I had ever met.

Macalester Swim & Dive 2013-2014

And now, at the end of my sophomore season, I’m still thankful for the home we’ve all found in Riley Pool.

Maybe we’ve gotten a little too comfortable here.
We just had our big MIAC championship conference meet, the end to our season. To give myself some extra motivation, I did a little math before the meet started on February 13. Since our 135-day season started on October 1, we had 109 practices together. That equaled 202 hours in the pool, in addition to 83 hours of strength and conditioning. So far, the grand total is 285 hours spent together. Big numbers, I know. But that’s not even counting our 11 meets against 37 different teams (where we scored a total of 348,865.5 points), our team dinners we eat in CafĂ© Mac almost every night, and the week that we spent together in Ft. Lauderdale on a training trip.

Team beach time in between our killer practices in Florida.

So you can see why I was so pumped for the final meet of the season. I couldn’t wait to finish the season strong with the people I know best at Macalester. Day in and day out I have watched them put everything they’ve got into chasing down (swimming down?) their dreams. After spending so much time with such dedicated athletes, I knew what they were capable of. And I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to watch them do what they spent 135 days preparing for.

We left Macalester at 8 a.m. on a Thursday. We spent most of the following several days in the University of Minnesota’s beautiful natatorium.

We laughed together

We raced together

We cheered together

And yes, we even cried a little bit together (tears of joy, I promise!)

After the meet ended, the whole team gathered on the bleachers for the last “Team Time” of the season. As with every Team Time, we took a moment to reflect on the meet, to acknowledge our teammates for their various accomplishments, and to remember what Macalester Swimming & Diving is all about—our love for each other.

We all staggered out of the University of Minnesota’s pool late on Saturday night. We were all famished, exhausted, (a little worried about our homework for Monday), but proud to be a member of the family we all took part in creating.

I’ll close with our official motto: “I LOVE THIS TEAM!”

- Hannah Currens '16