Cyclone of the Week, Macie Lopez, made waves on the Mills College swim team, securing a spot for herself on Mills’ Top Ten list in the 1000-yard freestyle with a personal best time.
Dropping 18 seconds off her personal best time in her performance against Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) and the University of Pacific, Lopez was very pleased with her exceptional times and is eager to see how her hard work will play out at the championships in early February 2017.
“My times this semester have been my largest accomplishments. In my 500 freestyle, I was 5 seconds faster now than I was at champs last year,” Lopez said.
From her first competitive swimming years beginning at the age of 11, Lopez’s accomplishments came from many years of dedication and genuine passion. Lopez notes that her main influences in pursuing this sport were her mother, aunt and uncle, whom all swam competitively themselves.
For Lopez, having grown up with individuals who are as passionate for swimming as she is made becoming part of the Cyclone swim team an easy transition. As a senior and transfer student, originally from Sierra College, the connections and friendships Lopez has made through the swim team have proven to be an essential source for support and personal growth.
“I feel ready to move forward with my life and enter into my career. Being on a team for so long has taught me many things about myself that I’m excited to use in the workforce,” Lopez said.
Head Swimming Coach Neil Virtue explains the many important life lessons that Lopez and the other swimmers can take away from being a part of a team.
“In a team you experience failures and successes together, you set goals and keep each other accountable, receive instruction and feedback which need to be turned into action which all offer opportunity for growth,” Virtue said.
Lopez’s teammate, Melissa Berkay, also speaks highly of Lopez as a reliable friend and spirit of encouragement on the team. Berkay supports these feelings of Lopez’s loyalty in their friendship with the many Sundays the two would spend together attending Regeneration Church last semester.
When not in the water, connecting with friends or focusing on her studies, Lopez can be found in the photography studio fervently making new work. Berkay has picked up on Lopez’s commitment and balance to all her various outlets for her energy and creativity.
“[Lopez] consistently works hard in practice and in her academics and puts a great effort into everything that she does,” Berkay said.
Just as Lopez’s energetic work ethic translates through her swimming performance and artwork, themes of water can also be found in many of her pieces and areas of focus in her photographic work.
“In my own art practice I feel very influenced by nature, specifically water. Currently I’m working on photographs and their relationship to water. I love the way I feel when I’m in the water and try to represent that through my artwork,” Lopez said.
Although Lopez appears to be thriving this semester, she admits it has been her “most difficult semester so far.” Like many students, she acknowledges the difficulties that come with balancing athletics, academics and career opportunities. Despite these challenges, Berkay speaks of Lopez’s ability to always be there for her teammates when they need her most.
“I have seen her have a great attitude through failure and success. Whether she is doing badly or extremely well in a competition, Macie always puts her performance aside and cheers for her teammates,” Berkay said.
When asked about Lopez’s future, Virtue is “curious but not at all concerned” especially when mentioning the passionate nature that he sees in the swimmer and artist.
“I believe that if you pursue what you are passionate about everything else will take care of itself,” Virtue said.