The Colorado College swim and dive team, comprised of some of the most dedicated student athletes, has faced heavy competition this season.

With the much-anticipated upcoming meet against the Air Force Academy, staff writer Nila Horner spoke to some of CC’s best swimmers and divers to discuss staying motivated in an incredibly lengthy season, plans for finishing up the year, and personal successes in recent meets.

First-year Ellen Silk, led CC’s women to victory in the CC Classic earlier this month, responded with enthusiasm as she spoke about the sport she loves. “The swim season is fairly long, and at times it is difficult to stay motivated [when] conference championships are months away, but everyone on the team is very supportive. Because we are also striving toward team goals, we tend to push each other on a daily basis. Anne [Head Coach] also writes a motivational quote on the board at every practice, which reminds me of my long-term, season goals.”

When asked about her recent accomplishment at the CC Classic, Silk said, “I was excited about my races on the second day of the CC Classic, but we could not have achieved victory without the success of the whole the team throughout the whole weekend. Everyone was tired, but they were able to stay tough and swim fast.” By lowering her season best time in the 200-yard butterfly by 1.11 seconds and finishing at a time of 2:18.41, Silk helped lead the team at home.

She touched the wall less than two seconds before teammate Megan Gillespie, who finished with an impressive time of 2:19.59.

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The men of swim and dive have also had an impressive season. Senior Austin Howlett, who earned the prestigious Conference Male Diver of the Year Award for the 2013-14 school year, has come into his last season as a Tiger with a positive frame of mind and is ready to finish up strongly at CC. When asked about his motivational techniques, he said, “Personally I’m motivated by my passion for diving and competition. I love learning new dives and meeting new people throughout the season. I do have moments of mental and physical exhaustion, and in those moments I always try to remember my love for acrobatics and just being athletic. The team as a whole has done well with motivating themselves this season, and I think that is primarily because they are setting very personal goals that give them a drive.”

When asked about his experience as a senior on the team, he commented, “The most exciting experience for me this season was finally breaking all of the pool records at the CC classic. This was so exciting mainly because I wasn’t expecting this to happen, I was more concerned with diving well and having fun. As a diver, my goals are to return to the NCAA national championships and hopefully be a top finisher on the one- and three-meter boards. But in general, I just want to have a meaningful last season of diving. All of the seniors seem excited to do their best at our conference championships and have a fun last season.”

In regards to his preparation for the upcoming Air Force meet, Austin said, “I am preparing just like I do for any other meet. Over the course of several practices, my coach has me practice every dive that I will perform in order to mint the necessary muscle memory. The Air Force Invitational is a great chance for me to compete in a larger and more competitive arena, as it is a Division I meet.”

Finally, Trey Watmore, a first-year on the team who competed in the freestyle relay event at the CC Classic, added his hopes for a successful remainder of the season. He said, “As this is my first year here, virtually everything I’ve experienced so far is new to me! Swimming for CC, though, is without a doubt the best decision I have made thus far. I’d say just being with the team in general and experiencing things as a family is pretty interesting and unique… My primary goal as we finish up this season is to become more confident and relaxed behind the blocks.”

The Air Force Invitational kicks off this weekend at the Air Force Academy, so be sure to support the Tigers as they finish up their season!

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