LU Teams of the Week: Lawrence Women’s Swimming

Photo by Emei Thompson


This week I got the pleasure to talk with the Women’s Swim Team captains—seniors Danielle Millin, Rebecca Schachtman and Paige Witter. The swim team recently took the third place in the Private College Championship. During that meet, Millin won the 200-yard backstroke in a time of 2:18.72 and Witter won the 500 freestyle in 5:27.05 The Women’s Swim team was also named Scholar All-American by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America for having above a 3.0 GPA during fall term—the team easily exceeded that with a 3.47 GPA. The Vikings will return to the pool and compete for the Midwest Conference title in two weeks.

Shane Farrell: How do you and your teammates balance being varsity athletes with the academic challenges of Lawrence?

Danielle Millin: We all have to work hard to get our work done when so much of our time is taken up by swimming, but our team has always been good about supporting each other through stressful times in and out of the pool.

SF: You have consistently earned this award, three times now. How does this reflect on you as a captain, your other co-captains, and your coach?

DM: As captains we really want to lead by example and demonstrate a good balance between academics and athletics. Our coach fully recognizes we are students before athletes and is very much willing to compromise when schoolwork cuts into practice time.

SF: What is the team’s atmosphere like with only one meet left before the conference championships?

Rebecca Schachtman: Right before we start taper, which is in one week, we have some of our hardest training of the season, so everyone on the team pretty exhausted. This is the time in the season where we have to push through the hard training and try to swim season best times before conference. I think we all understand that we won’t be as successful without the support of our teammates, so people are more supportive than ever of each other at this point in the season. My teammates, more than anyone, understand how hard it can be sometimes to balance a varsity sport with academics and make sure to support each other both in and out of the pool.

SF: Do you have any personal or team goals?

RS: The women’s team is hoping to place second in conference this year.  Last year we got third, which was really exciting, but we’d like to do even better this year.  Although our team is smaller compared to others we compete against at conference, we’ve been doing well this season and everyone has put in a lot of hard work so I am hopeful!

SF: You have five seniors on the team including you. What are the thoughts going through your head as you are ending your swimming career at Lawrence?

Paige Witter: I think all of us are finding the end of the season to be bittersweet. We are excited for Conference and to see how everyone swims, but for most of us it will also be the end of a long swimming career. We are all thinking about what we will do after while also trying to focus on enjoying the last couple weeks!

SF: Could you share one of your fondest memories?

PW: Many of my best memories are from the team trip we take to Florida every winter break. There, we have some of our hardest practices of the season twice a day, but for the rest of the day we hang out on the beach and in the ocean. I think Florida is really a time when the team comes together and gets to know each other away from the Lawrence bubble.