Bearing home-made signs and bouquets of flowers, families, community members, students, and even President Alecia DeCoudreaux gathered around the pool Saturday, Feb. 1 to recognize senior swimmers and cheer on the Mills swim team in their last home meet against Laney College and City College of San Francisco (CCSF).
“I think there was a lot of good energy today,” first-year swimmer Christine Mumm said. “There were a lot of people from the community who went and that was really exciting. It really helped all of us get motivated and excited about what we were doing.”
In addition to the lively crowd, the athletics department organized activities to bolster spirits. Each person to attend the event received a raffle ticket to win a prize at the end of the semester, and there was a cannonball contest halfway through the meet.
In the fourteen-event meet, several Mills swimmers trimmed seconds from their best times, and nearly everyone on the team raced in an event they had never tried before. Head coach Neil Virtue said he wanted to give the team an opportunity to try new things.
“We’ve been doing a lot of meets all year, and so by swimming different events it keeps things fresh and a little lighter,” Virtue said. “We’re just mixing it up and having a little more fun.”
Usually in meets, swimmers accrue points for the place they receive in each event. The swimmer’s points are totaled together at the end of the meet to determine a winning team. However, for Saturday’s meet Virtue said he and head coaches from Laney and CCSF decided not to keep score. “The coaches agreed that we were going to use this meet as an indicator of where we’re at as opposed to winning,” Virtue said.
Near the end of the meet, swimmers and community members convened to recognize senior Jessica Lix and graduate student Amelia True, both of whom are leaving the team after this season. Teammates surprised Lix and True with flowers and hand painted posters, while Virtue gave a brief speech honoring both athletes and their contribution to the team over the last four years.
President Alecia DeCoudreaux arrived in time to see the commemoration, flowers in hand. According to True, the President came on her request.
“I went to part of the congresswoman’s speech this morning, and I saw our president there,” True said after the meet. “I asked her if she wouldn’t mind coming to our swim meet later if she had time. She ended up coming, and she stayed to hear the recognition of the seniors. I felt really honored that she came.”
While Saturday was the last home meet of the season, championships are around the corner. The Mills swim team will be competing in the Liberal Arts Championships in Elsah, Illinois Feb. 13-15.
“The team has been really close since we got back from winter break, and I feel like we all really want to be here.” Mumm said. “I am expecting us to do our best at champs and I think that we can do really well.”
Virtue says he is excited for championships, but hopes to see improvement in the coming week.
“Today showed we have some technical stuff to work on,” Virtue said. “But the team seems excited for champs and they have been working hard.”
For more photos of the swim meet, check out our Flickr album below: