Throughout her freshman season as a member of the defending champion SU women's swimming and diving team, Val Stearns '16 will be giving her perspective on all things swimming – both in and out of the pool as she navigates through her first year as a Crusader student-athlete. This week Val fills fans in on what it’s been like joining a championship team and her previous experiences on championship teams.
Becoming a part of a team that has won the Landmark Conference for the past two years has given me mixed feelings. Sure, it can be intimidating and scary at times to join a group that has been very successful, but I am above all definitely excited to become an addition to this team. Clearly the girls have trained very hard for their back-to-back titles so I am happy I can join them in their journey to another successful season.
I come from a very distinguished high school aquatics program. I was part of the state championship water polo team my freshman year and our girls swim team won the conference title three out of four years of my high school career. Being a part of these teams was beyond rewarding. At the end of the seasons, we saw that all of the early morning practices and long hours we put in to our sports were finally paying off in the long term. The feeling I had during these moments was absolutely priceless, and I hope I can enjoy that feeling more in my years here at Susquehanna.
The commitment of high school swimming was very demanding, and I think it will be fairly similar to the commitment I will put in here at SU at the Division III level. For both programs, the work in the regular season is only half of the commitment. The off season training is the other half, and it must be given equal attention. I can honestly say that there is not a single month in the year where I am not practicing or working out on my own because, as most people learn, being an athlete is a year-long commitment. I am glad I came from a strong swimming program where I learned to self-discipline myself because that will only be a benefit to me in my college swimming career.
Although both programs that I am leaving behind and just getting started with are similar, there are some differences between the two. Susquehanna swimming has a much longer season than my high school did, so it will require me to keep a positive attitude throughout the entire length of it. From past experience, I know that the winter months can be tough for swimmers to remain focused and motivated, but as a team, we must remember that it will all be worth it in the end. I hope that by joining this championship team, I can share the feelings of accomplishment that they have already felt in the past two years.
- Val Stearns ’16