Sports Staff Writer
The UNCA women’s swim team swam their last home meet of the season against rival University of North Florida with a victory. For some of the swimmers, it was their last home meet of their college careers.
Senior art and new media student Shannon Kennedy expressed how swimming shaped her life before and during her time at UNCA.
“As a senior, it is kind of bittersweet,” Kennedy said. “I have been swimming for 14 years and so this is definitely an end of an era for me, and in some ways even bigger than graduating college.”
Kennedy said the team is a close family that bond through an activity they all love. The team swam 11 meets this year with three victories.
Senior biology student Elizabeth Murray said she is proud of how the team performed this last meet.
“I think we are all very excited about winning this meet because UNF is our rival team so it means a lot that we won, and it just proves that we can do great things at conference,” Murray said. “The girls on this team have changed my life and they definitely are my sisters and I love them all so much.”
A question that many students athletes may battle with is how they are going to stay active after they graduate. A lot of college athletes have had physical activity drilled into them by a coach or peer, not themselves. Student athletes might worry about staying active in their sport and otherwise after graduation.
“A big goal of mine is to stay active,” Kennedy said. “It has been forced in my life so much that I have always been able to rely on being active by someone else guiding me. So it is going to be up to me now to do it by myself and stay fit.”
In the stands, students, parents and fans filled the seats to cheer on the swimmers. Some UNCA students held signs for their friends who were swimming and cheered loud and proud throughout the event. Senior biology student Dilan Rivera said she especially enjoys the swim meets.
“I love coming to the swim meets. Even though I am typically working at them, I love to come and support the team. Swimming is a super cool sport and I think that the swim meets are always super exciting,” Rivera said.
With the close of the regular swim season upon us, some of the seniors said they would like to keep in contact with the younger swimmer after they graduate.
“I want to make sure I stay in touch with these girls because they have literally shaped me into the person that I am today and have just been my family and my sisters here throughout my college career,” Kennedy said. “They are my home away from home and I do not think I could do anything without them in my life.”
The UNCA swim team has one more meet at the championship conference on Feb. 14 to 18 in Athens, Georgia.