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Santa Clara Swim Club prepared me for the University of Georgia

Courtney Monsees 12 10 2007

It’s hard to believe that my first semester at the University of Georgia is almost over. It has been so much fun getting to know my teammates, roommates, coaches, and people on campus.

The training at Santa Clara Swim Club helped me transition from club swimming to the demands of a Division 1 - Nationally ranked team. The layout of the workouts at Santa Clara are similar to the ones here at Georgia as far as beginning with a warm-up set which leads to kicking, the main set, pulling, then work with other equipment such as snorkels, fins, etc.

The introduction of dry land training by Head Coach John Bitter that began last year prepared me for UGA dry land. John’s persistence to perform a variety of sit ups, planks, jump rope, push up’s, squats, medicine ball work, etc, made weights and the task of running a snake through every aisle of the Georgia Football Stadium in 104 degree weather possible.                                                               

Our first big meet was against Stanford where the Cardinals traveled to our pool. The pressure was on since we have a streak of 62 wins at home. The University of Georgia is about Pride and doing whatever you can possibly do to "protect our house". Throughout the entire meet we had a slight lead over Stanford. As I was warming up for the 200IM which is the last individual event Head Coach Jack Bauerle stopped me and told me that I was no longer going to be swimming that event. Confused as I was I got out of the water and he told me that I was now going to be the anchor of the final relay. Going into the last 400 free relay we had less then a 10 point lead which is not enough for a sure win. "It’s simple, win the relay, we win the meet" stated Bauerle, "you know what to do, I want to see a good one here," then he walked away leaving the rest of the relay and I more nervous then ever. The stadium was packed, teammates and everyone was cheering which helped turn our nervousness into excitement and energy. My teammates were able to get about a half body length lead before it was my turn to hit the water. The Cardinals were saving their best for last and with each turn I could feel her catching me. We were victorious! I have never once been that nervous before a race or have I felt that level of happiness after. It’s so much fun working hard, pushing each other, cheering, and sharing moments like these as a team.

Santa Clara has helped me so much with not only the transition to workouts but also with other everyday situations that a college student may come across. Problem solving, communication, time management, stress, etc, are all conflicts that we experience either at school, workouts, or meets. The coaches at Santa Clara help us through any concerns we may have by communicating and sharing what they think would be the best way to handle the situation. John does an excellent job clarifying that his ultimate goal is not just to have you swim as fast as you possibly can but also to know yourself and what you are capable of. With the short time he has with us he teaches us everything he can to help us learn and grow into young adults who can stand on our own two feet out in "the real world." I have learned and matured so much during my final year at Santa Clara and there has not yet been a day where I don’t utilize what I have learned at Santa Clara.

Although I am having such a good time I do get homesick. I really miss being home, being able to see my parents every day, my brother Zac, friends, driving my car, mom’s cooking, and swimming at Santa Clara. However, it’s all apart of growing up and Santa Clara Swimming really has helped gear me to balance academics and athletics. It feels great, and I am proud to be a Georgia Dawg!