Ohio Bobcats Swimming and Diving Team: In and Out of the Water

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The life of a college student-athlete is nonstop – just ask the Ohio Bobcats Swimming and Diving Team.

The team is in the pool practicing from 6-7:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Thursdays they’re in the weight room at 6 a.m., and on Mondays and Fridays from 3:15-5:15 p.m.

Their weekend gift for all the hard work and early wake-up calls: a 7:30-10 a.m. Saturday date with the pool.

On top of all of that, they still have to fulfill the “student” part of student-athlete, a challenge the girls embrace.

The Ohio Swimming and Diving team back in the water after Spring Break. Photo Credit: @OUSwimDive

Senior Captain Elena Patz said swimming in high school got her ready for college.

“I think high school swimming and club swimming prepared me well for balancing academics and swimming,” she said. “You definitely have to be focused on that, especially in your first semester and getting into a routine to be successful in the swimming and academic world. But yeah, sometimes you have to go to bed at 9 p.m. because you’re so exhausted.”

Patz found that balance early on at Ohio University. Tuesday, the Mid-American Conference released the All-Academic team, and Patz, along with 12 other girls on the team, received honors for having a 3.2 GPA and participating in 50 percent of the team’s contests.

This was her third consecutive year being on the All-Academic team. Some of her teammates haven’t been as lucky as Patz, who maintains a 3.865 GPA.

Fellow senior Caroline Raley earned first-time All-Academic honors for her 3.865 GPA. She said balancing the two isn’t always easy.

“Yeah, it’s difficult,” Raley said. “Sometimes you have class conflicts that you have to work around. This past semester, I had a class conflict every single day of the week, except for Fridays. There was some days where I would have to practice alone so that I could go to class.”

Patz and Raley are leaders in and out of the water. Thirteen girls were named to the All-Academic team this year.

Season Goals

Academically, the team did as well as it’s ever done.  Competitively, the team was unable to achieve the goals they hoped to reach this year.

“No, so last year we got fifth and this year we were hoping to move up,” Patz said. “Obviously, that did not happen finishing seventh, but we still had a lot of great individual performances. So, I think individually, some of the girls did really well, but as a team, not so much.”

The Ohio Swimming and Diving team tallied 6 A final swims at the 2018 MAC Championships. Photo credit: @OUSwimDive

“We set goals for the team before the season that we want to achieve,” she said. “We printed them out and put them on the wall as a reminder on what we’re setting out to achieve.”

While they may have underperformed in their eyes, they still maintain the family aspect of being a team.

Being a senior, Raley said it was it important that they welcome the freshman and make them feel at home.

“I’ve always looked out to help the younger girls anyway I can,” she said. “My big thing is spirit: spirit on the deck and cheering for everyone and having each other’s backs. It’s really important to stay positive and encourage one another after a bad swim.”

Both Raley and Patz said they hope  they leave a positive impression on the team.

The team looks to improve on its seventh-place finish in the MAC with new head coach Mason Norman.