One of the proudest moments in my 16-year swimming career was hoisting the first-ever Atlantic East Conference swimming & diving championship trophy with my teammates in February of my freshman year. We made history by becoming Cabrini University's first-ever AEC champions and vowed to ourselves that we will never let our trophy end up in another school's trophy case.
And one year later, we proudly carried that trophy home again.
One of the things I've noticed about Cabrini's athletes is that they are some of the most determined and hardworking people you will ever meet. They put in countless hours of work both on and off the field/court, and the results are evident by the number of trophies, awards, and accolades our athletes are honored with every season.
Swimming has always been viewed differently. It is probably one the sports people know the least about and is usually only talked about once every four years when the Summer Olympics come around and Michael Phelps announces a hiatus in his retirement. It is one of the most physically and mentally grueling sports and tends not to receive the recognition it deserves.
But last Sunday, that was the last thought in my mind. All I could think about was that we had done it again; the men's and women's Cabrini University Swim Teams were the Atlantic East Conference Champions for the second year in a row. Our countless hours of early morning swims, double practices, and Christmas break training had paid off. We did a horrific amount of streamline jumps and swam more yards in one warmup than all of the other teams at champs combined. We put on tech suits two sizes too small and massaged each other's shoulders until the red indents in our skin faded away. After three days of pain, tears, and wins and losses, we came out as champions, together.
We went through many ups and downs as a team this season, just as any team would. But what I believe sets us apart from other teams is that we always come out stronger in the end. We gained and lost some teammates since the beginning of the season, switched up our relays, and swam some races we never thought we would swim. One of the things I admire most about my teammates is their determination and willingness to do whatever they need to get the job done. We had people completely change their events due to injury and fought through the pain every step of the way. We had people step down from their main events in order to let someone else swim, because they knew it was what was best for the team. And maybe one of the hardest things I've seen people do this season was to swallow their pride and say "I'm sorry. I messed up."
I truly admire the determination and toughness of my teammates and coaches this past season. Like any sport, swimming takes an incredible amount of dedication and physical work. We all struggled with personal issues and hardships this season, but came together as a team and accomplished what we came to do. The back of our shirts this season read "We may have arrived in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now."
I am excited to ride this boat with Cabrini Swimming into the next two seasons, struggles and all.