Women’s Swimming and Diving was victorious over SUNY Fredonia and Alfred University in a three-team dual at Alfred last Saturday, Nov. 12. Sophomore Tess Minigell was a quadruple winner, triumphant in two individual events and two relays. She took first in the 200-meter butterfly, the 100-meter freestyle, the 200-meter medley relay, and the 200-meter freestyle relay.

How does being a returner feel different from coming in as a freshman?

Coming in as a returner, I felt a lot more confident in the pool, and already having an established relationship with the coaches set me up for a good start of the season. As a freshman, I was very intimidated by the team, since it was so big and so new; however, I quickly learned that our team is very welcoming and supportive.

How have you grown as an athlete since last season?

From last season to this season, I have grown by improving my attitude in the sport. I really love swimming this season, since I do not feel as much pressure from all the change that freshman year brought.

In what ways is swimming a team sport, and in what ways is it an individual sport?

Swimming is [as] much a team sport as it is an individual sport. It is individual in the fact we swim races alone, and it is up to us to mentally get through the races. As a team, we cheer each other on, push one another, and, most importantly, win meets.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have overcome in your athletic career?

Adapting to my new teammates and coaches last year was very difficult for me. I swam with the same people and same coaches for 10 years, so [it] took me about half the season to understand the team. Right now, I would say the biggest challenge is getting through our dryland workouts at 7 a.m. in the morning.

What inspires you?

There are so many things that inspire me, but just seeing all the upperclassmen continue to swim and love the sport pushes me to keep going every day.

Is it difficult to balance academics and athletics?

It has been very difficult to balance both athletics and academics. I am here first to earn my degree in chemical engineering. We are expected to make every practice and give 100 percent, but also, [the coaches] are very understanding if we have three exams in one week and cannot make a few practices. It has been a struggle from week to week, balancing sleep, school, and swim, but [I] have managed so far, and use swim as a way to clear my mind from classes.

What is your relationship with your teammates?

My relationship with my teammates is the best thing about this sport.  They are people I can hang out with in the library, dining hall, our rooms, and just about any place that will serve us food. I have found my best friends on the team that help me through the everyday stress of completing a lab report in time, and complain about a hard workout in the locker room.

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment in the sport was my 500 free during UAA’s last season. It was the first event I was going to be swimming at that meet and, since it is my favorite race, I was extremely excited. I ended up getting my best time that morning and making it back to finals, and only [missed] the school record by about a second.

If you could have Thanksgiving dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?

If I could have Thanksgiving dinner with anyone, it would have to be Ellen DeGeneres. I watch her all the time and think it would be a very entertaining dinner, rather than a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

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