After months of rigorous preparation, first-year and Co-Captain of the New College Swim Club Katharine “Katie” Sands took a flight to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the National College Club Swimming League from Mar. 31 to Apr. 2. Along with Sands, fellow Swim Club Co-Captain and first-year Isabelle Dawson and Coordinator of Campus Recreation Jacob Brody-Ogborn (‘22) attended the event at Ohio State University’s aquatic facility, the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. After training four days a week for approximately three months, Sands finally hit the water at the national competition, earning herself a new personal record for the 100-yard freestyle and a great accomplishment in New College history.
The National College Club Swimming League’s mission is to unify college swim programs throughout the U.S. The organization’s advisory board is made entirely of College Club Swimming (CCS) swimmers and is supported by U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). In order to qualify for the competition, Sands had to register as a national CCS swimmer, qualify in the Florida CCS competition, be affiliated with the Swim Club at New College and train for the final race.
The Catalyst interviewed Sands after her return to campus about the training process.
“My preparation for Nationals really started in January, where my teammate Isabelle and I really started increasing our weight training in the gym,” Sands said. “In February, when it was finally warm enough to swim again, we got back in the pool and I worked on increasing the amount of yards I was swimming every practice week by week. Then, about two weeks out from Nationals, I started focusing especially hard on sprints and technical training, working on things like my flip turns and various stroke drills.”
Dawson attended the event as well managing communications, meetings and organizing swim meets amidst the preparation.
“In terms of preparation, most of it was swimming,” Dawson stated. “We practiced at least four times a week in the pool and included weight training in the gym. It also took a lot of hours of registration, meetings, signing various release waivers and requesting deck passes.”
As spring arrived, it was finally time for Sands to compete in the event. The league allowed a practice session on Mar. 31 to get swimmers acclimated to the new pool, and the following day they continued the racing schedule as usual. Sands focused on starts and turns during this practice, since these elements are different in every pool, and then slowly settled her nerves before the start of the race.
Sands competed in the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 57.24 seconds and the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.59 seconds.
“Both events went fairly well, though my 100 free was definitely the best,” Sands said. “I was really surprised by how much time I dropped on it. I was hoping to drop time and personal record (PR), but in swimming, it’s really hard to drop a lot of time. Usually, a new PR is a few milliseconds faster than the old one. My best 100 time of the season was 58.52 seconds, so dropping over a full second was unexpected, but awesome.”
Brody-Ogborn lent his support and resources to the Swim Club throughout the year on top of attending the event with Dawson and Sands.
“I am very happy with how the event went,” Brody-Ogborn said. “This is the first time the NCF Club Swim Team has gone to nationals, so we were very excited to learn more about the inner workings as we went through it. The event was very well organized. It was exciting to see over a thousand of the top Club Swim athletes from around the country all come to Columbus, Ohio to compete in their races.”
“New College has always had athletics and talented student-athletes with each year of students,” he continued. “I am excited to continue highlighting their successes and giving more opportunities to more students who have a passion to do sports.”
For students interested in joining the New College Swim Club, make sure to check NovoConnect for registration and practice dates.
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I can say that I had the honor of helping to inaugurate this swimming pool in the Fall of 65, 50 meter freestyle me against Bill Ralphs. He touched me out. I forget the gentleman’s name that provided a lot of funding for its construction back then. He did say at the dedication that he was very happy not having to dig the hole for it. It is great to see Masters Swimming filling in the gap created by lack of funding for many collegiate varsity programs. In 65-66 I worked out with the local high school team that trained here. Have swum masters since the 80’s