This past weekend Lawrence’s Swimming and Diving team faced off against our conference competitor Ripon. This was the second meet of the season, and the Vikings are already off to a ground-smashing and record-breaking success! The Vikings demolished Ripon by scoring over double what Ripon had — 158 to 62! A young freshman on the Swimming and Diving Team Maddy Smith had a particularly outstanding performance against Ripon, where she broke multiple school records! I interviewed Maddy and asked her what records she broke and where she got the motivation to push herself in order to get those results this past Saturday. Maddy recalled, “On Saturday I broke the six-dive record for both one-meter and three-meter diving with a score of 212 on one-meter and 223.75 on three-meter. I had some diving training on my high school team, however. As a first-year student at Lawrence I have recently been able to have consistent training, which has really helped me to improve my dives. I have been able to have a lot of time on the boards and I have also been able to have a lot of one-on-one time with my coach since I am the only Lawrence diver. My motivation so far this season has really been my team — although I was the only diver in the meet against Ripon I will soon compete for valuable points at bigger meets. There are only a few divers within our conference so it is important that I train hard and place as well as possible so that we can meet our team goals at the conference meet later in the year.” Maddy seems to be in an unusual predicament, being the only one on the team who dives. That can put a lot of pressure on an athlete, and maintaining that pressure means everything to an athlete. That’s where mental toughness comes into play, having the ability time and time again to not crack under the pressure, which Maddy clearly is doing a great job at maintaining! Then I asked Maddy why she thought her team performed so well against Ripon. She said, “I think our team did well at the meet against Ripon mainly because we have a very well-rounded team with many people who can swim a variety of distances and strokes. During the meet our team took the first-place title in almost every event, and in a lot of events a Lawrence swimmer also took the second place title. Our team raced hard in every event and worked to out-touch Ripon at every finish.” Having that competitive team bond to push each other when one thinks they are at their brink-edge is probably how Maddy was able to push herself into breaking school records, and it is that same bond that the team will feed off of throughout their season, leading the team either to success or falling short. Only time will tell. Lastly, I asked Maddy what she considered to be the most challenging part, in her opinion, about competitively swimming and diving. Maddy responded by saying, “As both a swimmer and diver, one of the most challenging things for me is being able to find time to get my swimming yardage while also balancing this with training time on the diving boards. However, all of my coaches have been very helpful in creating a schedule in which I am able to get time in the pool and on the boards.” Through all this hassle due to lack of time, again this shows how Maddy is not only pushing herself in the pool, but is good about time management. One thing that I know, being an athlete, is that especially at the D3 level you have to be able to manage your time well.
If your grades are slipping, most likely your performance on the “field” is sub-par as well and vise-versa. Maddy not only has to balance her academics, but also has to split her time between two sports! This just shows how committed she is as an athlete, and explains why she has been and will continue to be successful. So, if you are an athlete, or you yourself are in a conundrum that you cannot seem to get past, look at Maddy as an example. Are you managing your time well and/or are you pushing yourself enough, looking at all the possible angles?