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"It would be un-Kenyon-like to have a system in which the swimming team is And after each new NCAA championship, Steen has to dig a little deeper into his focus its recruiting efforts on swimmers who aren't being pursued by big-time. SwimOutlet Location: Kenyon College Athletic Center, Gambier, Ohio 47th Big Little Meet Announcement · Requested Time Standards for Big Little. Coach Jim Steen commencement speech at Kenyon College This is a little larger team than I am used to, but let's give it a shot. Back in the mids I had a big, strapping sprinter on my team, with a big booming.
Even with fewer demands, most Division III programs have 6 a. Training trips, travel opportunities and sweet team gear still exists at the Division III level, and some rivalries carry the excitement and thrill of watching a Division I Championship.
Coaches Want You Photo Courtesy: Sprecher; Kenyon Athletics If you want to swim in college, there is a spot for you somewhere. While Division III schools are typically considered the slowest, several powerhouse teams such as Emory University, Kenyon College and Denison College out-perform swimmers from higher divisions.
Lisa Minnis Competing on a college swim team is an unforgettable experience. You are immediately welcomed into a group of people where you are accepted on your first day of college. Your teammates are there to push and support you just the way they did in high school.
Is it helping you or hurting you in your capacity to perform? During your time on the Hill did you give it your best? Or did you avoid putting in the time and effort necessary to fully take advantage of your opportunities?
Regardless of how you performed at Kenyon, we can all agree—whether we subscribe to the 10,hour rule or not—that a sustained period of focused attention and applied effort is absolutely essential in getting better at anything that really matters.
And, yet, hard work, in my experience, is not the sole determinant of one's capacity to achieve. In fact, one's sense of what can be accomplished in any endeavor—what is truly possible—is often compromised by too much hard work and too little imagination. All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all work and no imagination will most definitely make Jack an under-performer. Of this I'm absolutely convinced! It's been my experience that the hardest workers are not always the most prolific performers.
The correlation between grinding it out, day in and day out, and the capacity to perform at transcendent levels does not always appear to be direct. In discussing this with my fellow coaches on the faculty over the years, I've picked up on similar sentiments.
The student who puts in the work is not always the student who is the most creative and engaged in their thinking. If you have a limited imagination—a limited concept of what's possible—then performing in a truly exceptional manner at any level, in any arena, is improbable at best, irrelevant at worst.
You may have the talent to excel. You may have the intelligence to excel. You may have the work ethic and competitiveness to excel. But the real question is: Imagination fuels perspective and perspective puts one in touch with the bigger picture. The bigger picture, in turn, allows for more possibilities and more ideas. Performing at one's best begins with the creation and expression of an idea—nothing more, nothing less.
Do you have the imagination to see yourself doing something truly exceptional? Certainly it's difficult to sustain a leap of the imagination that isn't, in part, grounded in the knowledge and appreciation of one's inherent abilities. But it's been my experience that people greatly under value their capacity to perform and, as a result, their capacity to achieve.
Imagination can be improved. Committing the best of yourself to any worthwhile endeavor requires that you do so. By attaching your efforts to whatever it is you choose to do in a way that stimulates your imagination, you enhance your capacity to perform at any level.
To quote no less a 'performer' than Albert Einstein on this subject, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Challenges My final coaching point of the day: It's my contention that in any given moment one lives one's life in one of two ways, either under a threat or for a challenge.
In performing when it counts, it's one or the other, under a threat or for a challenge. If, as Einstein says, "Imagination will take you everywhere," then living your life under a threat will take you nowhere.
Perceived threats, often resulting in fear, invariably compromise our capacity to perform in the manner we most desire. And there are all sorts of perceived threats that ultimately reduce us in stature, making us feel small, insignificant, and powerless.
She was astonished that one woman-one first-year woman-could have worked such a sea change. Out of the pool, it meant. Perpetually buff in body and spirit, she would strike a pose at any given moment. The woman operated at full-throttle in all aspects of her life, and she was used to getting her way. When Sports Illustrated came to Gambier in to do a story on Kenyon swimming, the Ladies got equal time with the men. Inthe NCAA saluted the ten-year anniversary of its sponsorship of women's sports with a series of awards.
Patty Abt, now four years out of school and working as a freelance artist in her hometown of Canton, New York, was honored as the athlete who had done the most to define a decade of women's collegiate swimming. Abt finished her remarkable career with twenty-three national titles, a record until Carla Ainsworth came along. She also set an astonishing twenty-one NCAA records, the best of which have stood the test of time. Amy Heasley '88, who was as quiet as Abt was loud, came out of the blocks with virtually the same gusto.
At one point, she won seventeen consecutive NCAA events, and she finished her career with twenty-two national titles, one shy of Abt. Now Amy Heasley Williams, she is in her second tour of duty as an assistant coach at Kenyon. Rebecca Becky Little '91, another Lady standout, was a finalist for the award in Starting with her fabulous freshman year, Patty Abt deserves credit for jump-starting Kenyon's streak of seventeen straight national women's titles a year earlier than expected.
As Steen points out, the Ladies' first NCAA championship in could conceivably have gotten away, if not for the in-your-face attitude Abt used to inspire herself and her teammates.
The setting was Emory, at the close of the second day of the '84 nationals, and only five points separated Kenyon from Pomona-Pitzer and Hamline. After all, we were on a five-year plan to win the NCAAs and this was only year four.
I thought everyone was ultra-focused on what I was saying, when a conspicuous snicker arose from the periphery of the room. I looked up and saw Patty Abt, who fixed her stare on me and then blurted out: The rest, you might say, is herstory. A Tale of Three Pools When the Kenyon Center for Fitness, Recreation, and Athletics opens in the fall ofthe College's swimming program will have a facility as superb as its history.
But for today's alumni, the glory of Kenyon swimming will forever be associated with two older pools-cramped, inadequate, and happily left behind, but full of championship memories.
In the beginning there was the Greenhouse, a glass-roofed steam chamber that made up in personality what it lacked in space and design. The official name was the Shaffer Pool, and it was housed in the hillside building that is now devoted to the Bolton Dance Studio.
The glass panes that inspired the building's nickname have long since been replaced by normal roofing. Constructed with a donation from Charles Shaffer of the Class ofthe building opened in and served Kenyon swimmers until the Ernst Center was built in When Sports Illustrated sent writer Jerry Kirshenbaum to Gambier in to do a feature story on the men's team, Kirshenbaum was so struck by the idiosyncrasies of the pool that he based the entire beginning of his story on it.
Titled "It's a Real Campus Haunt," Kirshenbaum's story noted that Kenyon's twenty-five-yard pool was only thirty feet wide instead of the standard forty-two. When divided into six narrow and choppy lanes for meets, competitors "all but lock arms as they race," said the article.
As the years went by, the roof began to leak.
Why You Should Swim at an NCAA Division III School
Snow and ice dripped down on the pool deck, and high winds often shattered some of the 1, panes of glass. The Greenhouse was costly to heat in the winter and steamy as a sauna from late spring through early fall. When it was filled to capacity-roughly one hundred and fifty spectators-the noise reverberated like a carnival funhouse. But it's got character. The guys can see the sky and trees. And after weathering the rough water here, when we get into a good pool, we fly.
In an interview with Swimming World, Glasser recalled Kenyon's first-ever dual meet with long-time rival Johns Hopkins in Once I started to pull away, the place went wild. The students outside were stomping and banging the windows. When Shaffer rocked, the energy was incredible! Kenyon's swimming program was well established long before Edwards arrived on the scene from Toledo, where he had been physical-education director for the YMCA.
The College's first coach, Paul Snyder, started the program in the school year. After one season, he handed the reins to Charles Imel, who reeled off four consecutive conference titles from to and a total of five over a seven-year period before World War II halted college competition for two years. Robert Parmelee took over after the war and won another conference championship in He was followed by Hobie Billingsley and H.
Pasini, who each coached a year before giving way to Bob Bartels in Bartels won the Ohio Athletic Conference championship inenabling Kenyon to pull within one conference title of eight-time winner Oberlin, and then he left to become head swimming coach at Ohio University. Those kids were incredible. When Sloan left for a job at Ohio State inSteen was hired. I said to myself, 'It's obvious this guy is going to be a good coach.
He might as well do it at Kenyon. Build a twenty-five-yard facility with six lanes and a diving well, or a fifty-yard pool-essentially two twenty-five-yard pools stacked end to end. We chose the latter because I have sixty swimmers and it's easier to train them all simultaneously.
Right now, we practice at 6: When the new facility opens, we'll work out at 6: I might actually get to eat dinner on time for a change. Designed by Graham Gund '63 and his firm, Graham Gund Architects, and replacing both Ernst and the old Wertheimer Fieldhouse, FRA will serve fitness enthusiasts, recreational athletes, intramural players, physical-education classes, and varsity teams.
Among other features, the ,square-foot building will have a new Tomsich Arena for basketball and volleyball, a "multi-activity" recreational gym, a competition-quality indoor track, indoor tennis courts, a large weight and fitness room, squash and racquetball courts, multipurpose rooms for aerobics and similar classes-and a new pool for both recreational and team use.
Designed in consultation with Steen, the pool will measure fifty meters by twenty-five yards. The configuration will allow for twenty lanes each measuring twenty-five yards long or nine long-course lanes measuring fifty metersplus one- and three-meter diving boards. That facility includes the Gabrielson Natatorium, where Steen's friend-and assistant Olympic swimming coach-Jack Bauerle has built a Division I dynasty. FRA "suits Kenyon to a T because it embodies what an institution competing in Division III is all about-being highly professional in a pure amateur setting.
Titled "Major Minors," the story, by writer Doug Looney, chronicled the achievements of the Lords and Ladies along with four other teams that were doing big things in minor or small-college sports. Where the story had called attention to Kenyon's impressive string of conference championships, the new piece took stock of the Lords' and Ladies' national titles-eleven straight for the men, seven straight for the women.
With those eighteen NCAA crowns, noted the story, Steen had surpassed all other collegiate programs in the total number of championships won. And so the glory goes on. Now boasting a total of forty-five NCAA titles, the Kenyon swimming program is recognized as a phenomenon. Nobody knows what the future will bring, but Steen and his student-athletes are excited about the fact that the next chapter of swimming history will take place in a truly phenomenal athletic center.
A center, interestingly enough, that incorporates a good deal of glass. A Day in the Life of a Swimmer Taking no chances that they'll be late for their first swimming practice of the day, senior co-captains Fernando Rodriguez and Marc Courtney-Brooks use their TV as an alarm clock.
It's December, cold and dark. Over at Norton Residence Hall, first-year student Matt Jacobssen, who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, is packing up his book bag because he won't be back to his room until lunch.
Marc and Fernando are luckier: Travis and Duda he goes by his last name are usually on foot-and not happy about it, particularly if it's winter in Gambier and the snow is deep. Or if it's raining. Or if they're running late.
Travis and Duda usually need a lift. It's still dark outside when the Lords and Ladies shuffle out of the Ernst Center locker rooms and plop down on the pool deck in swimsuits. Since swimmers are also college students, a natural question arises: Are any of these heavy-lidded people nursing a hangover?
The solution to the space problem is twofold. It involves alternating the use of the pool according to events-sprinters lift weights at 6: It takes five separate workouts for both teams to get their mileage in, and that's not counting the calisthenics, stretching, yoga, and some plyometrics stuff with a medicine ball that Steen prescribes to keep his swimmers' bodies in peak physical condition. But from then on, every minute of practice is systematically plotted, timed, evaluated-and painstakingly individualized.
They've both broken the varsity record in the IM, but Duda is 6'6" and Russell is 5'10". Duda is a middle-distance stroker who excels because of his proficiency and grace. Russell is a scrapper with great heart and explosive speed. As a result, their training-for the same event-is as different as night and day. He prints a page guidebook every year that includes splits from the previous season and a summary of each swimmer's performance by event, including shaved and unshaved times.
Sport Motivational Commencement Speech by Swim Coach Jim Steen at Kenyon College,
But we also rely on intuitive notions. One of my strengths is being able to connect with people on a fundamental level. From there, the pace picks up considerably. By the end of their respective minute shifts, the sprinters will have logged 3, yards and the strokers and distance people 5, or more. They're done lifting at 8: Then it's time to work on their abs.
Fernando, an anthropology major, has an art-history class, Survey of Architecture, at Then he grabs a late lunch at Peirce Hall. The Lords and Ladies are back in the pool again at either 2: The toughest workouts of the week are usually Tuesday and Thursday; Wednesday is recovery day. Meets are typically scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a day for swimmers to rest their bodies and prepare for class on Monday.
Every swimmer is serious about academics, which makes us even closer as a team. I remember the day Ashley Rowatt '03 presented her honors thesis. It was on protein synthesis in frog embryos-which only a few people on campus understood-but the entire team went to her presentation because they wanted to support Ashley. Marc and Fernando have dinner at Peirce and are usually home by 7: When I take a day off from swimming, I'm terribly inefficient in school.