Freshman Lizzy Garcia on the Lawrence University Women’s Swimming team has been nothing short of impressive this season. Joining forces with the talented trio of junior Paige Witter, seniors Hayley Cardinal and Emily Flack, Garcia has consistently placed in the top two with her 200 medley relay team. Garcia has had an impressive individual showing as well, placing in the top three in many 50-yard and other sprint events.
So, where are you from, and what drew you to Lawrence?
I’m from Saint Paul, Minn. My mom told me to apply, and then when I met [Head Coach Andrew, Fleek] I really liked him, so that was a big reason I came here. I also really liked the size of the school, and that I can talk one-on-one with my professors.
How do you keep yourself focused before you get to the pool? Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
I listen to Eminem and a lot of hip-hop before meets. I usually listen to alternative, but I like hip-hop because it keeps me hyped up before a meet.
Is there anything you do in your spare time that you think helps with your performance?
I don’t drink pop. But that’s actually because I just don’t like it. I try to sleep a lot, too, especially because we have morning practices and I have an 8:30 a.m. class. Stay away from drugs, too. I also try to eat healthy and be very active in and out of the pool.
What’s one thing you’ve enjoyed so far this year as a Lawrence student?
Away from athletics, I’ve enjoyed my science courses. I really like biology, and my professors have been really helpful. It’s always easy to contact them. Otherwise, I haven’t had much time to do much besides swimming, because our season starts so early, from October until now, and we’re still not done yet. I want to go on Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) trips in the spring.
In your mind, what has been the easiest and the toughest parts of being on a collegiate team?
The toughest parts have been time management and schoolwork, with practice being twice a day. The time commitment is huge. But our coach is so understanding, too, so the easiest part has been cooperating with him and the team.
How different does the atmosphere of Lawrence feel from where you’ve been previously?
Very different. I went to a private Catholic high school. It’s a lot more diverse here, thought-wise. There’s a lot of different thoughts here, and anything you say here isn’t weird, I feel like.
How have your teammates helped you with your transition into the life of a collegiate student-athlete?
They’ve been really welcoming right from the start. Throughout the season, we have team bonding once every two months or so, but we really bond every day, whether we’re eating or in the pool. I also got help from my teammates with academic stuff, too, whether they’re looking over my labs or if they’re helping me with time management. A bunch of us also go the library and just study there every day, too. I don’t know if I could do it by myself.
Over the past few seasons, the Lawrence Women’s Swim team has been rather successful. What do you think you bring to this team to help make sure the team stays up?
I hope to bring some wins, personality and just overall more success.
Where do you see this team going during your time here at Lawrence?
Definitely getting first in conference. We have a huge recruiting class for next year, and we’ve beaten everybody in the conference except Carroll University this year. By my senior year, I think we’ll win the conference meet.
You’ve been having a rather successful year, especially as a freshman. You’ve been competing at a high level with a trio of Lawrence’s most talented swimmers in Paige (Witter), Emily (Flack) and Hayley (Cardinal). How has competing with them impacted you this season?
I love that race. We’re all specialists in our respective strokes, and the whole team is super hyped when we do that, especially because it’s the first race of the meet. Once we win, it just sets out a vibe for the entire meet. A lot of coaches say that this event foreshadows the rest of the meet, because it’s such a mixture of talents.