The men’s and women’s swim teams finished their season at the GLVC championships, Feb. 9 through Feb. 12.
For some seniors, this meet would be their last opportunity to compete as a team for Truman State University.
“I was just really there to have fun and just do what I know how to do and race other people. I had a lot of goals for the season, and I tried to keep those in practice every day and in the meet, apply that and not think so much about that and just race,” senior Emma Brabham said.
“I tried not to think about it during the meet because I wanted to stay on top of everything and stay focused and try to do my best. But when it came down to the last race, I was like this is it, this is everything you got left,” senior John Breen said.
Knowing their time was running out fueled the seniors’ excitement throughout the week.
There were 13 swimmers total that would be competing together for the last time.
“There were 18 girls that competed at the conference, and nine of us are seniors, and just to be able to watch everyone have fun and watch everyone enjoy their last meet ever as a swimmer was just really special,” Brabham said. “Just those memories together that we probably won’t have again were really special.”
The GLVC Championship meet gave the athletes a chance to go out on a successful note.
The women’s swim finished fifth, and the men’s finished ninth in the team competition.
“Personally, my goal was to go out there and compete and score some points. I hadn’t really scored many points in the past, so I wanted to do that. As a team, we wanted to go out there and have fun and be the best we could be,” Breen said. “My last race, the 200 breastroke, was probably my biggest success. I dropped a good amount of time, about three seconds in it, and I was pretty ecstatic with that.”
According to Truman’s athletic website, the Bulldogs had many B cuts, qualifying swimmers for nationals. Brabham explained that only 175 swimmers would go to nationals, divided among each event.
However, Brabham had B cuts, placing 15th in the 100 freestyle, 13th in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 backstroke.
“You can make pretty good predictions based on your time and where you are seeded as of now, but it’s kind of a guessing game, ” Brabham said. “It looks pretty good, but we can’t say 100% I’m going, it’s more like 85.”
The Bulldogs will find out if Brabham made it to nationals next week.
According to Truman’s athletic website, Brabham is currently 16th in the nation in the 100 backstroke.
However, the meet didn’t go without its challenges. As athletes get older, it gets harder to keep up with the work.
“I do sprint events, so getting up time after time and giving it everything that I have every single time is hard. We raced morning and night for four days. So to ignore that you’re tired and just race was a challenge on it’s own,” Brabham said.
“I’m getting older, and it’s definitely getting harder to get up every morning and do the same practices twice a day that I could do when I was 18 compared to now when I was 22,” Breen said.
The men’s swim team only had 15 active swimmers.
The smaller team size made it difficult to have swimmers for every event.
“I swam a couple of events that I had not swum at conferences in the past, so doing something different was a challenge. I wasn’t used to those races,” Breen said. “I know we had a small team, but I think that having a small team, in a way, sort of benefited us because we were able to bond and get closer.”
Men’s swim ended 1-7 and women’s swim ended 4-3.
Both Breen and Brabham had positive reflections about their season.
“I had the most fun I had in years swimming,” Breen said.
“I’ll never get college swimming back, or probably ever compete again,” Brabham said. “I have been doing this sport since I was three years old, so it allowed me to live in the moment and have fun and not stress out if I was not getting my best times. This was the most fun conference and maybe the most fun meet I have ever had.”