By: Sydney Gay ’15
“What do you mean there are no power outlets!” was the cry I heard in the girls locker room after I dropped my backpack off on the bus. Now, I was also planning on using my computer on the bus, but as a senior English major I also had plenty of reading to occupy the 14 hour round-trip to Louisville. As the freshman and sophomores worried about the lack of electricity and the length of the drive, I looked at the other three women seniors: “So long as the bus doesn’t break down again I’m fine.” I laughed as Mary Gabe, Kate Feeser, and Caroline Hamp all suppressed a shudder over the disaster that was our sophomore year trip out to Louisville. There was a sense of exited tension as we all prepared for the meet. Now, I was excited for this meet for a few more reasons than the rest of my teammates. First, I knew my parents were coming to watch me swim. The drive from Richmond to Louisville is even longer than the drive from Lexington though. However, they were willing to make the effort because this meet would be the first and last time my younger sister Emily and I swam each other at a college meet.
On the bus, I was seated next to Lizz Platt, my usually bus buddy, and behind Sarah Schaffer and Meredith Murphy, also a usual occurrence. Since I was behind Sarah and Meredith, it was inevitable that I would be caught in some of the many Snapchats shared during the drive. Once the bus began moving, I pulled out my iPod and homework for my capstone. Even though others get carsick or distracted on bus rides, I have found that they are some of my most productive homework times. That is not to say that the completely full bus did not manage to distract me, the swim team is extremely loud and talkative. The arguments over which movies we would watch are often heated, but Coach Taylor gets final say (only because he works the DVD player on the bus). I half paid attention to Neighbors, The Lincoln Lawyer, and The Sandlot while I worked on homework. Eventually though, the darkness outside on the bus lulled me to sleep until we reached the hotel where I immediately crawled in bed and passed out.
Reaching the pool at Louisville the next morning heightened the excitement. I was swimming the 1000 freestyle and the 500 freestyle, my usual events, along with being part of the fourth 200 free relay. That relay is always fun because it is the D-relay or the “d-lay” because the majority of us swim the distance events. On the deck, I stood and stretched with one eye on the door watching for the Sewanee swim team. When they appeared, I watched my sister bee line towards me; I caught her in a big hug in front of both teams and our parents. It was funny how surprised people were by our similarities.
The meet started off with the women’s 200 medley relay; and the Generals were already on fire. I am someone who likes to stand on the side of the pool and cheer, and there were plenty of reasons to do so. Now this may be conceited, but I have always thought that even though the 200 medley is the first event, the 1000 freestyle sets the tone for the meet. Elisabeth Holmes won the event by finishing her swim with a 29.28 and the men had all three swimmers in the Top 8. We continued by winning 12 of the 32 events. We cheered through the meet, but we were the loudest for the final heat of the men’s 200 free relay. When Tommy, the fourth swimmer, dove in, I think the relay was in third. We were all cheering so loudly, I couldn’t hear myself think, but the volume only increased when he tied the relay for first. I was out of breath from cheering at the end of that race, and I turned to whichever teammate was closest and said, “I think this was the best first meet that we have ever had!” It was so much fun to watch as the first years grow more excited about the season and how the other upperclassmen grew confidence for themselves and the season.
Before we left my sister and I were able to take some cute family pictures and say good-bye to our parents. On the bus, I found two surprises: The first was the fact that the pizza was already there and the second was that people had traded seats. I was happy with the first and not so much with the second. I settled into my new seat grumpily, but cheered up once I had food in front of me. On the trip home, I worked for a little bit longer on homework, but eventually slept until we arrived in Lexington.
In our next entry, we will feature a written entry produced by the team that profiles the team’s recruiting visits. Look for that mid-next week.