I remember spending hours on the UR website and looking up information on student activities, dorm rooms, and, of course, athletics. My first experience with UR Women’s Swimming and Diving (URWSD) was on my recruiting trip my senior year of high school. I enjoyed meeting the upperclassmen on the team and watching the team swim and do dryland.

Meeting URWSD was a defining factor in my decision about which university to attend, and I could see myself swimming for four years with the teammates I had met. One of the most bittersweet aspects of swimming on such a big team is that the team’s dynamics, feel, and personality are completely different with the departure of every senior and influx of the new freshman class.

Every year that I have been a member of URWSD has been a year that I have had a safe and happy place on campus where I am free to be myself. I have had a group of girls to lean on and encourage me in everything that I do, not just swimming.

We either start or finish almost every day swimming 4,000 to 8,000 yards with the support of more than 20 women who are right there swimming alongside us. We learn mental toughness and hold each other accountable for carrying the team on our backs during every race. We spend weekends cheering for each other at swim meets, and those are the experiences that have made my four years at UR memorable. And when we’re not in the pool, we study hard and focus on school.

I will soon be an alumnus of URWSD, and I know it is something to be proud of—being part of the team has exceeded the expectations that I had after my recruiting trip. I am unbelievably confident in saying that I know I will be leaving behind a team of beautiful, strong, and determined women that will fight in the pool to honor URWSD and encourage and nurture each other outside it.

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