Swimming among friends

Club sports can be a different take on athletics to current and prospective college students. They give students the opportunity to be a part of a team and get some interactive, physical exercise without the demanding competitiveness of Division I team sports. Radford University offers a variety of club sports for students to be involved in, with the newest being Club Swimming.

Graphic courtesy of Whitley Rogers.

The team, created in the spring of 2010, competes against other college club swim teams. They normally have two to three meets per semester and practice Monday through Thursday every week from 7-8:15 p.m.

Aside from just practicing and going to meets, the club team meets for “pasta party” nights before meets and they host and participate in other social events. This year, the team will participate in a Relay for Life cancer event where the participants will swim for someone they know who has been affected by cancer.

Club Swimming travels to different meets all over the East Coast and they have hosted meets during both the fall and spring semesters. The team has one final meet this year in Atlanta where they will compete for the club team championships.

Photo courtesy of Whitley Rogers.

The team’s coach is a student who swam for RU’s Swim and Dive Team. Madison Mantiply has been the coach of the club team since the club first began in 2010. Each year, she offers her help and knowledge to the club’s elected executive board. This year, club President Colton Nye chose to stick with Mantiply’s swimming techniques and kept her on as coach.

“It has been amazing watching the team grow from its humble beginning to what it is now,” Mantiply said.

Her advice for anyone thinking about joining the team would be to just stop by the practice and see what it’s like.

“I joined the team because I really wanted to be a part of something and it’s always been a part of my life,” said sophomore Joey Dzurenda, who has been swimming since he was 6 years old.

Dzurenda is an advocate for the club and recommends joining the team.

“They would definitely have a great time and it’s a great way to always stay busy,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of really great people on the team, and I have definitely made a lot of friends from joining.”

Photo courtesy of Whitley Rogers.

College club sports are rising in popularity due to their relaxed and friendly approach to team sports. The RU Swim Club acknowledges that it’s important to be able to balance one’s academic, athletic and social life, and they strive to be a club sport that allows and encourages that balance. Club Swimming is a program that works to support its members as both athletes and students while creating a comfortable and friendly athletic environment.