Senior Swimmers Reflect On Success

by Nadia Smith

While the swim team had something to celebrate this weekend with their victory against Lindsey Wilson College at the Senior Day meet, they also took the time to recognize the team’s graduating seniors.

Senior Kasey Toy, a member of the team during all four years of college, expressed mixed feelings about graduating and leaving Transylvania.

“It’s exciting and thrilling yet bittersweet. It’s unbelievable how fast these four years have gone by,” Toy said.

Coach George Villarreal described his experience with this group of seniors.

TU seniors are excited about their futures but are sad to be leaving Transylvania University.

“This class were freshmen when I first arrived, so their entire career has overlapped my time here,” Villarreal said. “We’ve grown together as has the program in that time. It’s been great to see them grow as people and step into leadership roles. They’ve transitioned from (first-years) who were young and new to college life to young adults on the verge of moving off into the world.”

Maggie Davenport is one graduating senior with big plans for the future. Davenport says she will be attending the University of Kentucky’s Masters of Accountancy Program this fall. Davenport will also marry in the summer of 2011.

“I am excited about my future,” said Davenport, “but sad to leave the program and (close) the swimming chapter in my life.”

Davenport swam in high school and joined the swim team at Transy her junior year. During her time on the team Davenport said she has enjoyed the Florida training trips, the long bus rides, attending the swim conferences and, of course, winning swim meets.

Villarreal said of Davenport, “[When she joined the team] she immediately showed great work ethic and is a leader by example. … She’s been a great captain.”

Another senior leader Villarreal mentioned was Daniel Porter.

“To many, he exemplifies the spirit of Transylvania swimming. … He knows that he has the ability to do great things. He has surprised the team with fantastic swims in the past, and there are more to come,” Villarreal said.

Other graduating seniors include Clare Grosser, who holds the varsity record for the individual 100-yard freestyle and has anchored two relays to team records, as well as Ben Grisham, whom the coach calls “a very steady contributor to the team, … a mainstay as a backstroke and sprint swimmer.”

Senior Annie Wilson said the swimming program was an important factor in her decision to attend Transy. Other seniors on the team include Maggie Davenport, Ben Grisham, Clare Grosser, Daniel Porter and Kasey Toy.

Senior Annie Wilson said she enjoys being able to practice with the men’s swim team and share the same coaching staff. Wilson said everyone puts in the same effort and shares the same benefits. She feels the men give the girls an extra edge.

“They get us pumped up and ready to swim,” Wilson said. “They get us to push harder than we might if we were just practicing against other girls.”

Wilson is a former MVP and a record holder for the 400 free relay. Wilson said she’s been swimming ever since she fell in love with the sport in fourth grade.

Villarreal said Wilson is a versatile swimmer who places at the top in several events.

“(She is) one of the most cheerful and spirited members of the team,” he added.

Though she had preventative surgery during finals week last term that prevented her from swimming earlier, Wilson was able to swim at the senior meet and hopes to swim at this week’s meet, as well. Wilson said the swim team has been very supportive. She said she’s made a lot of friends on this team and many of her best friends she’s made through swimming.

Toy also said the relationships she’s been able to form while on the team, with both current and alumni swimmers, were a highlight of her experience.

“It’s hard to replace the feeling of stepping on the blocks and knowing you have a whole group of people beyond you supporting you,” Toy said.

Grosser said of her experience, “The faces on the team have changed throughout the years, but the team dynamic and spirit are all still the same. We live for the team. It’s part of who we are.”


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