Motivation is what drives the SUNY New Paltz Swim Club to continue carrying the legacy left behind by alumna Melissa Goldman. But without swim meets and competition, what keeps its members eager to return?
Since Swim Club began in 2005, the noncompetitive club sport has had a solid 10 to 15 members, including co-presidents Lauren Delvecchio, Taylor Kinsley and Frieda Schmuel.
Delvecchio, a fourth-year student and four-year swim club veteran, said her motivation to swim is for exercise and relaxation.
“Swimming is not only an amazing exercise, but it’s a great way for me to unwind, especially on a stressful day,” Delvecchio said. “It is a pain to have to jump into a pool of cold water, but once I begin to swim, a kind of peacefulness surrounds me.”
Swim Club meets biweekly on Mondays and Wednesdays, where members workout to a plan constructed by the presidents of the club.
“The workouts we do are just to keep in shape, learn new things and to enjoy our time swimming,” said Goldman. “Now the workouts can be more intense because we have grown so much, but there is still a lane for learners, and it is all about having fun.”
Although the club has not participated in any swim meets this semester, Delvecchio and Kinsley said there is still time for the club to plan one, but juggling between school work and swim time is a challenge. Some members find balancing the two to be overwhelming and have to quit swimming.
“Everyone’s schedule gets hectic, so it is understandable [that people may leave the club],” Delvecchio said. “We are always welcome to newcomers, and old members are always welcomed to return as well.”
Since most members have different schedules it is a challenge to coordinate swim meets, the presidents said they try their best to compete in at least one per semester.
“[The meets] are very relaxed and we just do it for fun, even though the other teams are usually more serious than us,” said Kinsley. “Last semester we had our first tri-meet and we hosted it here at the Elting Gym pool. It was with SUNY Cortland and SUNY Albany whose clubs are bigger than ours, but it was still fun to compete and hang out for a few hours.”
The swim club has a $500 budget from the Student Association (SA), but they have to petition for it. The money funds traveling expenses for swim meets off campus. Since the club’s last meet was at SUNY New Paltz, Kinsley said there was no need to ask for SA money.
For the past five years, swim club has been a noncompetitive environment for its members to enjoy the sport.
“It has always been a small club,” said Kinsley. “I think the number of dedicated swimmers we have coming grows each year, which is good because when we graduate we know we are leaving the club in good hands.”
Exercise and responsibility are elements that keep Delvecchio and Kinsley returning, and they feel at ease passing down the swim club legacy to “very promising juniors and sophomores who are more than capable to do an excellent job running the club,” Delvecchio said.
“[Goldman] did such a good job and was so super enthusiastic about it that we are trying our best to keep the club she created afloat – no pun intended!” said Kinsley.