Archive for October, 2009

First-Hand Knowledge

October 30, 2009

By: Josh Williamson
Head Athletic Trainer

I always have kids in my CPR class that ask if I have ever performed CPR or if I have ever personally experienced any of the things that I talk about in class. I tell them that I have never performed CPR and would prefer to never have to and then I relay a story of having gone through the emergency action steps of check, call, care that we discuss in class. But other than that, I’ve never had a personal experience with the major injuries/illnesses that we discuss in the class. I’ve always believed that I would be able to explain things better if I have experienced them myself, but I’ve never been compelled to make a major injury/illness happen (who would?). But, as fate would have it, I have managed to have an experience that, fortunately, I survived and I am now a better instructor because of it. This is the length I’m willing to go to for the education of America’s youth.

I wanted to enjoy a nice evening last week. Practices were done early and I thought it would be great to avoid cooking and to go to dinner. Who wants to go alone though?  Not I, so I asked a friend to tag along and enjoy my company (as most people do).

We ordered entrées and I decided that an appetizer was warranted and ordered some calamari. We conversed for a little bit and then the appetizer came. I dug in and ate quite a bit as we continued to talk about the week. I was pretty hungry at the beginning of the meal, but when the entrée arrived I could barely eat a quarter of it. I thought nothing of it, boxed up the meal, and we left to go around to some shops…looking for some great Halloween costumes.

As we walked around checking out the different costumes I noticed that I had a little itch on my chest. No big deal…but then I started itching all over. I made my way to a restroom to evaluate my situation, which, at that point, was not good. I was covered, head to toe, in hives and was sunburn red all over. I didn’t panic (for at least 30 seconds) until I started to feel some pressure in my chest. I knew I needed to act fast to take care of the situation. I grabbed my friend and gave them the keys to my car to drive me to a place where I knew I could get help — Wal-Mart.

My friend dropped me off at the front door and I rushed in, heading for the pharmacy. I arrived and had trouble locating the Benadryl. I requested help from the pharmacists, who took their time helping me until I showed them the hives that were springing up all over me. They handed me a box of children’s chewable Benadryl, which I proceeded to tear open and consume in front of about 20 Wal-Mart customers who had to be wondering what type of addiction I had to make me eat drugs in the middle of the isle. About 15 minutes later the drugs had taken affect and my symptoms were beginning to clear. I made my way home, slept off the effects of the meds, and now understand first-hand all the signs and symptoms that I discuss in class. And, because of this experience, I can honestly say that the CPR course is a course that offers more than just second-hand knowledge being passed on…

W&L Athletics Quiz

October 29, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Today I thought that I was going to write about my favorite men’s basketball moments in honor of basketball media day at the Civic Center, but I think we’ll hold that off until next week.

This week has been very much about history for me.  One of the aspects of my job is to serve as the guardian of the W&L athletics history.  Record-keeping and archival of certain historical documents come with the territory and my office has enough filing cabinets packed full of old documents and photos to prove it.

I am constantly reminded of our history by the phone calls every week where alums or friends of alums are interested in obtaining some historical information.  Just this very week I received a DVD with the game film from the 1951 Gator Bowl football game when W&L lost to Wyoming.  Watching the video (which was surprisingly in color) was really very interesting and helped bring to life one of those moments that I had only known from paper or stories, which can tend to grow even more grand with each year that passes.  However, this game was actually the real deal.  It had every bit the pageantry of today’s bowl games and the stands were packed for the game which still bears the same name and is still played on the same site in Jacksonville, Fla., every New Year’s Day.

I was further reminded of the history as I began researching the football team’s record this week.  The Generals played their 1000th game in program history last week and are just the sixth school in Virginia to have played at least 1000 games.

Yesterday as we taped the Sports Weekly in Reid Hall, a few of us had the idea for a sports-related game show and that got the juices flowing about what sort of questions I would come up with for such a show.  There are so many things I could ask.  It will take some planning before the show happens, but in the meantime, I thought that I would throw a few W&L Sports-related trivia questions out there so people could test what they know about W&L athletics.  I’ve had a few of the staffers here take the quiz and six or seven right seems to be the norm.  How well will you do?

Once you are finished, simply visit the answers page to find out how you did and be sure to post a comment with how you scored so you can see how you stack up. Best of luck!

1. How many athletic directors has W&L had since 1971?

a.) 6
b.) 1
c.) 4
d.) 2
e.) 8

2. What was the last team to win an ODAC Championship?

a.) Women’s Lacrosse
b.) Women’s Cross Country
c.) Volleyball
d.) Men’s Lacrosse
e.) Golf

3. How many times has W&L won the Dan Wooldridge Overall Sports Champion Cup as the top athletic program in the ODAC?

a.) 13
b.) 6
c.) 22
d.) 1
e.) 9

4. What is the University’s youngest varsity sport?

a.) Field Hockey
b.) Women’s Track & Field
c.) Riding
d.) Women’s Basketball
e.) Women’s Swimming

5. What were the first four varsity sports offered for women upon coeducation in 1985?

a.) Tennis, Swimming, Cross Country, Golf
b.) Tennis, Lacrosse, Soccer, Cross Country
c.) Swimming, Soccer, Lacrosse, Riding
d.) Soccer, Lacrosse, Swimming, Cross Country
e.) Field Hockey, Swimming, Lacrosse, Soccer

6. What sport has won eight-straight conference titles heading into this season?

a.) Men’s Soccer
b.) Women’s Cross Country
c.) Women’s Lacrosse
d.) Golf
e.) Volleyball

7. What athlete recently set the school career record in their sport?

a.) Rachael Phillips
b.) Sallie Armstrong
c.) Charlie Westfal
d.) Ben Barlett
e.) Maggie Sutherland

8. With 34 years of service to the men’s soccer program, Rolf Piranian is the longest tenured current coach at W&L.

a.) True
b.) False

9. What former coach recently retired after 50 years of service to Washington and Lee?

a.) Buck Leslie
b.) Joe Lyles
c.) Bill McHenry
d.) Jeff Stickley
e.) Mike Walsh

10. What coach on the W&L staff has the most All-America citations from their days as an athlete?

a.) Mandy King
b.) Mike Ginder
c.) Adam Hutchinson
d.) Nate Hoey
e.) Kami Gardner

11. Which two coaches have completed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in their sport?

a.) Mike Ginder & Joel Shinofield
b.) Nate Hoey & Kris Hoey
c.) John Tucker & Nate Hoey
d.) Kami Gardner & Kris Hoey
e.) Mike Ginder & Kami Gardner

12. Who was the first woman to be inducted into the W&L Athletics Hall of Fame?

a.) Angie Carrington Murphy
b.) Elizabeth Miles Mitzlaff
c.) Rebekah Prince
d.) Marilyn Baker
e.) Lisa Dowling Costello

13. Which current sophomore was named the South Region Rookie of the Year in their sport during the 2008-09 school year?

a.) Charlie Westfal
b.) Ellen Yeatman
c.) Meg Ingram
d.) Jeremy Becht
e.) Chris Washnock

14. Which athlete has won the most recent individual National Championship?

a.) Alex Sweet
b.) Lindsay Hagerman
c.) Hayden White
d.) Emily Applegate
e.) Nathaniel James

15. Which member of the W&L athletic staff has won a National Championship as a Head Coach?

a.) Neil Cunningham
b.) Gary Franke
c.) Eric Ishida
d.) Kami Gardner
e.) Jan Hathorn

ANOTHER REMINDER THE ANSWERS CAN BE FOUND HERE

Upcoming ODAC Championships

October 28, 2009

By: Kris Hoey
Head Women’s Cross Country Coach

When I was thinking about what to write about this week, and it seemed natural to write about the Championship season … my favorite time of year.  There are vibrant colors everywhere, the air is crisp and there is nothing like the sound of a team of fit runners, running hard through leaf scattered trails … I love it!

The anticipation of the ODAC Championship is in the air.  Who is going to step up and have a clutch performance? Who will be able to motivate the team in such a way that everyone is totally fired up?  It is fun to see the competitive personalities come out when it is all on the line.   This event is something that our teams remember for the rest of their lives.  And me too!

About every other year, the ODAC championship falls on Parents weekend.  I love those years. This year we will have 24 family members attending the meet.  How exciting!! Our parents make this weekend that much more special!

I can hardly wait for Saturday and all that goes with it.  Freshly changed spikes, new hair ribbons, the themed t-shirt (dyed in my washer this week), the giddy chatter five minutes before the race starts,  the excitement of the first mile, them working hard as a team the second mile, and bringing it home and being competitive in the last part of the race, the celebration afterwards for leaving it all out there, and all the hugs from parents, family members and the team.

Good Luck to all the teams competing this weekend!!

Go Generals!! Bleed Blue!

What Coaching Means

October 27, 2009

By: Neil Cunningham
Head Women’s Soccer Coach

As coaches we have the opportunity to mould young lives in a unique environment. We spend many hours a week with a group of students in a variety of situations during the course of the school year. Practice, long bus rides, meetings in the office, game day. We see our athletes on their best day and even their worst.

We congratulate them on a great goal scored, or hitting the winning basket and we also console them on the death of a loved one or a season-ending injury. It’s an unbelievable experience and teaches you so much about yourself and your team members. It is truly a rollercoaster ride and I love it.

We understand as coaches that we are trying to teach more than just playing the game and we hope that some of our lectures and life lessons actually resonate with our players.  It’s easy to get caught up with such things as winning and losing, records and championships, but at the end of the day it’s about people.

This summer was quite remarkable for me as a coach and it had nothing to do with getting a top recruit, or winning a game. Former players have been in contact about wedding invitations, engagement news and new jobs. It brings it all home to know that you are still part of the lives of the students long after they are gone. I received the following e-mail this summer also and I read it often and I feel like its worthwhile sharing. Coaches, you do make a difference and I know that our current and former athletes really appreciate their time spent on a team here at Washington and Lee and would come back tomorrow to do it all again…..right?

Hi Coach,

I just wanted to write and say thank you for everything that you do. I am now a couple of months into my third year of med school, and I am reminded everyday of small lessons that I have learned from you and W&L.

Several attendings have complimented me on my confidence, composure, and ability to think on my feet.  They have also noted that I both willingly seek and accept feedback and criticism on my performance with grace and ease.  I owe  a great deal of my ability to do these things to my time with with the team and the life lessons you teach both on and off the field.  You both expect your players to demonstrate these skills and foster them throughout the four years.

The individual meetings that I’ve had with you over the years have especially prepared me for discussing my performance with attending physicians.  I just wanted to express my absolute thanks for everything that you have done for me and to let you know that what I’ve learned from you hasn’t been forgotten.

If you are an alum reading this BLOG, reach out to your coach today. I guarantee it will make their day.

Why I Love(d) Being on a Team

October 26, 2009

By: Jan Hathorn
Director of Athletics

Now that I am in my third year of being the Director of Athletics, probably the most frequent question people ask me is if I miss coaching. And the answer is yes and no.  The answer is yes because I miss having my own team of women students who are learning and growing and maturing through the avenue of sport.  The answer is no because I still have a team of my own – the PE/Athletic department.  The common denominator in these two answers is team.  So much of what I am today and so much of what I will be in the future is the result of teamwork.  There is nothing like being on a team, and here are three key reasons why:

1.     True Community. There are very few places in this world where you can find true community anymore, but a team is one of them.  Whether you are the coach, the trainer, the manager or a player, everyone comes together around a single purpose – to become a cohesive group. And when a team comes together in this way, there is a real and lasting sense of unity and support that defies description.  You become one in spirit and heart, which sounds mushy and sensitive, but it’s true. Just look at the men and women who serve in the armed forces.  Their platoon-mates become like family to them because they have worked, laughed, lived and struggled together for countless hours.  Being on a team is so similar, although not life threatening.  And you know, everyone needs true community.  It’s hard to find in today’s world but you can definitely find it within a team.

2.     Students as teachers. Many times over I was the one being taught.  I learned something from the team members every day, and I am a better person for it. It doesn’t matter who’s supposed to be the coach or the leader, if it’s really a team, everyone has something to offer. That remains true today.  A coach will come to my office or we will work together on a project or issue, and in the end, I have learned something about life and relationships.  This type of teamwork eventually becomes second nature and next thing you know, everyone’s learning from everyone, and the end result is something that transcends most other things in life.  It’s simply indescribable.

3.     No one can do this alone. Whether you’re talking about competing in a contest, working on a project, or just living life, there is just no way anyone can do it alone. So many times, within the course of a season, this would prove itself to all of us on the team. Just when you think you can’t do it, someone steps up and fills the need or the gap.  Just when you begin to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re good enough, someone lets you know how important you are to the group.  And then you are reminded that you don’t have to do this alone.  You just have to do your part.  What a relief!  You’re not all by yourself, you’re just one of many who make up the whole.  Where else can one find support like that?

There are very few things in my life that have had such a powerful influence on me, and being part of a team is one of them.  I challenge everyone to find a team somewhere and become a part of it.  It will change your life, and you’ll be glad it did.

Taking it all in

October 22, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

So it’s Thursday and that means it’s my turn to write a blog entry.  At points in time I’ve had doubts about whether I could come up with some original content, but then, just in time, something happens to peak my interest in a topic.

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about the scenery of the W&L campus, Lexington and the Shenandoah Valley.  This is something that too often I take for granted but then when I need it most, it is so very apparent to me.

I am most definitely one of those people who remains focused much of the time.  That focus is often on my job and what I need to accomplish at work, but also on errands that I need to run, you name it.  I rarely stop to smell the roses, but when I do, it always brings a smile.

Case in point, this past Monday.  Mondays are absolutely the worst day for a sports information director.  Catching up from all the games over the weekend, reporting to the conference office, preparing for the games of the week to come, securing workers to staff all the games that week, etc.  Everything seems to converge on Monday and I generally feel like it is the end of the world every Monday.

This Monday was no different except that Rachel was feeling more than a little under the weather.  She seems to have recovered nicely now, but when asked how she was doing the response was “I feel like I’m going to die.”  Most Mondays this wouldn’t have posed much an issue, but this Monday the women’s soccer team was hosting Transylvania.  Thowing a game into the Monday madness is not something held in high regard in the SID office, but we also understand you have to schedule when you can, etc. So, Nate and I decided to cover the game and send Rachel home (she slept for 20 of the next 24 hours after that but returned on Tuesday feeling better).  Covering the game forced us to push some releases back to Tuesday, but we met most our deadlines and there really was no issue.

Upon arriving at Watt Field, I soon realized there was no place I would rather be at that moment.  Monday afternoon was one of those truly remarkable days.  It was sunny, bright and about 60 degrees.  Light jacket weather.  And the view from the press box at Watt Field is simply spectacular this time of year.  The vantage point overlooks the front campus, George is in plain view atop Washington Hall.  You can overlook town all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains just past Buena Vista and the leaves are all turning orange, yellow and other spectacular shades.  On a day like Monday, it all seemed too good to be true.  The view was so nice that I decided to take a picture with my BlackBerry and post it to facebook.  Comments came flooding in about the view, the beauty, the mountains, etc.  It appears I’m not the only one who has occasionally taken stock in what surrounds us.

The view from the Watt Field press box during yesterday's men's soccer game against Eastern Mennonite.  The scenery this time of year is simply spectacular!

The view from the Watt Field press box during yesterday's men's soccer game against Eastern Mennonite. The scenery this time of year is simply spectacular!

Yesterday, I had a ton of errands to run at lunchtime and not much time to do so.  I got into that “locked in” mindset of what I needed to accomplish and in what time frame.  It seemed as though every person and every car was on a personal mission to throw off my timing.  There was typical out of town traffic that tries to turn at every corner only to realize it isn’t the proper turn.  There were tractor-trailers taking up lanes of traffic in the middle of town.  At Wal-Mart, the checkout lady was discussing Sunday’s Church service with the patron, taking their good ole’ time instead of checking out the purchased items, etc.  Thank goodness my thoughts were never verbalized as I waited my turn.  And then, as I drove back to campus for the afternoon in the office, I was again greeted by that view of the Blue Ridge and all the stressful feelings were washed away.  I returned to that chipper mood I had on Monday afternoon and was reminded that life is more than about meeting your next deadline or taking care of that next errand.  That’s what the beauty of Lexington means to me and one of the reasons I believe I’ll never leave this area of Virginia.

So, if you are a student or faculty member or even an alum with a mental picture of this special place, take the time to sit back and take it all in from time to time.  I guarantee it will help wash all those stresses away for you too.

Oh, and one last thing — GO PHILLIES!!!

Odac

October 21, 2009

By: Wendy Orrison
Head Field Hockey Coach

The Odyssey is often required reading in either ninth or 10th grade.  When I taught freshmen English in the 90’s, I taught the epic poem and Kate Stavish (Field hockey assistant) is currently teaching The Odyssey to her ninth grade students at Rockbridge County High School.  It is a wonderful story of a King who uses his guile to return home to his wife and son. It takes him 10 years to return home to Ithaca where his wife, Penelope, is fighting off the many suitors who assume that Odysseus in dead.

We have a dog whose name is Odac; yes, in tribute to the ODAC conference.  The field hockey team at Hollins (I coached there) named her.    I can still remember the fall day 13 years ago that I went to the Roanoke SPCA to pick out my dog, the first for me as an adult. I picked her to be my dog because she was friendly but not in my face.  I don’t like dogs that lick and jump and need lots of attention.  (I don’t really like people like that either.) She turned out to be most independent, bordering on aloof.  We call her our cat dog.  She prefers to sleep outside even in the winter months.  She doesn’t like dog treats or being brushed and will only stand for human attention for a limited amount of time.  She has seen us through multiple other adoptions; several other dogs, some of which have come and gone, and two children.  She puts up with my children well, but moves off to seek her privacy if they want to love on her.  Her favorite spot for the past 12 years has been our side yard where she can lay and view the world below her.  She can see the whole back yard, the cow field which often has tasty groundhogs passing through, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.  You can also see cars as they come up the driveway, a pretty great spot to sit for humans or dogs.

Odac decided to go on her own Odyssey all last week.  Wednesday morning she was not at home.  Her new favorite spot for the past year has been the breezeway between the house and the garage; food and water are both close by with little or no effort.  It began to rain Tuesday night and we didn’t see the sun for the next 4 days.  We gave up hope on Odac.  She had never been gone for more than an afternoon and here at the age of 13 she had been gone for multiple cold, gloomy days.  We spent as much free time as we had, about twenty minutes a day, looking for our family dog.  Long walks down into the woods, into all the barns-no sign.  We got our first hard frost Sunday night/Monday morning and I gave up all hope that our old dog was alive.

Yesterday, after our fourth win in a row, we got home in the daylight and started looking.  We stopped at a neighbor’s barn and looked all around, we stopped at our hay barn and looked in drain pipes and under trees, nothing.  I got up to the house heavy hearted.  I parked in the garage and walked out to the breezeway.  Who was standing on the breezeway casually expectant of dinner?  Odac.  She looks a bit skinny but none the worse for wear.  I immediately called Gwen and Kate (hockey assistants) to let them know Odac was home.  They both have dogs, like dogs, and had been emotionally supportive of me the past week.  Kate wondered aloud what type of Odyssey Odac had experienced.  Maybe Odac didn’t go far at all and her old legs just took her three days to get there and three days to get back; I’ll never know.  I’m just glad to have my friend back.  What does this have to do with field hockey?  Not much.  I just wanted to share my happy story.  A win and my dog back in the same day, a husband and assistant coaches who are always supportive of me.  I know this isn’t as riveting as Marley and Me but hey, I’m a coach not a writer.

Fall Ball and More

October 20, 2009

By: Brooke Diamond
Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, our fall non-traditional season has drawn to a close. As I reflect on our practices and scrimmages over the last four weeks I am struck by three distinct thoughts:

First, I am excited about our team’s potential for a strong season this spring. Our fall scrimmages against Lynchburg and Guilford showed us that even without some of our key returning players, we have the pieces necessary to put together a successful season both in the ODAC and beyond. In addition to the talent, creativity and skill that has been exhibited on the field by returners and first-years alike, the team has also proven itself to be focused and committed to doing all that is necessary to regain the ODAC title this spring. A fire has been lit – we are eager to see where this new found passion and desire can take us.

Second, as a coach, the fall season is one of the most exciting and rewarding times of the year. Returning student-athletes have taken on new roles within the team and have stepped into leadership positions since vacated by graduation. The student-athlete who, only two years ago was a meek first-year, is now a key contributor and vocal leader on the field. Witnessing such growth in individuals’ talent and personal leadership skills is one of the pure joys of coaching and teaching.

Finally, I often find myself thinking about the student-athletes who were not with us during the fall season. We missed 10 student-athletes this fall due to study-abroad experiences or commitments to fall sport teams – I think this is GREAT! In my opinion, the 16 playing opportunities that we are allowed in the fall do not even begin to compare with the increased game sense and competitive understanding gained from playing in another varsity athletic season or the maturity and self-confidence earned by immersing one’s self in another culture far across the globe. We are excited to have these 10 student-athletes rejoin us for the spring season in January and know that they will bring their increased game sense, competitive understanding, maturity and self-confidence to help our team reach our goal of reclaiming the ODAC title this spring.

Aging Gracefully

October 16, 2009

By: Josh Williamson
Head Athletic Trainer

It’s funny how I’ve started to gauge my age now.  When I first started working at Washington and Lee, I didn’t even think about my age.  But now that’s changed.  I knew this year that I was starting to put some experience in the bank and have started to age when reading through the pre-participation forms that the athletes turn in…I started to see birth dates in the 1990’s.  Scary…but not entirely.  I mean I can still say that I’m in my twenties, although the big 3-0 is looming in my future soon.

In addition to seeing the birth dates move into the 90’s, I’ve also noticed that the kids don’t get my movie quotes anymore … truly disappointing.  It’s a sad day when you quote “Top Gun” and no one knows what you’re talking about.  Or, when people ask “How are you doing?” and I would respond “Doing alright, getting good grades” and they would answer back “my future’s so bright, I’ve got to wear shades.” They have no idea what I’m talking about.  When that happens, it makes me notice that I’m getting older.  And, at first, I didn’t like the idea of it.  But now, I’ve come to welcome it … there’s a lot to look forward to as I age.  Here’s my top list of things I’m looking forward to as I age:

6. AARP… far off, yet I’m already excited about the benefits

5. Stories … I’ve already started telling stories that I forget the point to

4. Marriage … my mom says I’m a “catch”, so maybe someday…

3. Grey hair … I know, sounds unusual, but I would really like to be able to buy a movie from Wal-mart and not be carded

2. Coffee … not just drinking it anymore, but relying on it like it’s a wonder drug

And, the number one thing I’m looking forward to:

1. Old man strength … Dad has it, I want it

Top Swimming Moments

October 15, 2009

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Today definitely had a different feel.  As I walked to the main office for a meeting this morning, I noticed the men’s basketball team experiencing Day #1.  That’s right, basketball season has officially started.  The Generals were taking advantage of reading days to have a morning practice, which I’m sure will be followed by an evening practice as well.  I stopped momentarily to take stock and I didn’t see enough to know if they can play a lick, but they are SIGNIFICANTLY TALLER than they were last year.  Keep an eye on that as the winter progresses.

Hoops may be starting, but swimming has already officially kicked off the winter season – the Generals swimming teams have been in the pool for the better part of a month already and their season begins tomorrow with a meet at Mary Washington.  In the spirit of their season beginning, I figured this would be the perfect time to revisit some of my favorite swimming moments from the past 11 seasons.  Perhaps the #1 moment should be the addition of a new ventilation system last year.  You now longer have to deal with sauna-like conditions in the pool area if you want to check out a swimming meet or two.  The difference can’t even be put in words.  Anyway, without further ado, here are my top moments from the Washington and Lee men’s and women’s swimming teams in chronological order:

March 1999
Senior Margaret Hoehl appears in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd”, the first General to appear in the publication since I had arrived at W&L.  Hoehl swam the ODAC’s top time in 10 of 14 individual events that season and went on to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 500 free and 1650 free.  Hoehl still holds school records in the 500 free (5:03.57), 1000 free (10:38.77) and 1650 free (17:35.21).

November 14, 1999
The W&L men’s swimming team knocks off Gettysburg, 137-106 for their first-ever win over the Bullets (not confirmed, but that’s the way I remember it).  Certainly memories fade a little, but I remember that this was a huge victory at the time, especially since then assistant coach Todd Peters was a Gettysburg graduate.  The Generals set nine meet records in the victory and first-year Patrick Frankfort keyed the win with three individual victories.

2004 Men’s Season
The 2004 season was when the men’s swimming team finally found a home in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference.  The Generals claimed the inaugural championship and senior Eric Ritter and first-year Mike Ginder both went on to earn First Team All-America honors at the NCAA Division III Championships.  Ritter finished seventh in the 100 back in a school record time of 51.07 in the 100 back and Ginder finished fourth in the 200 free with a school record time of 1:41.13.  Both records would fall a few years later, but it was an exciting time for the Generals and really began to set the tone for W&L swimming.

2007 NCAA Championships
The W&L men, spearheaded by the performances of senior Mike Ginder and junior Alex Sweet, went on to finish eighth at the NCAA Championships, their highest finish since 1989.  Ginder concluded his career with 16 All-America citations, second-most in school history.  He also graduated holding three individual school records and five relay team records.  The 2007 championship was also sort of a coming out party for Sweet, who finished sixth in the 100 free en route to posting First Team All-America laurels.

Alex Sweet at the 2008 NCAA Championship
It is tough to top the NCAA meet from the season before, but the 2008 championship was pretty special.  The Generals again finished eighth overall, which was tough to imagine with the loss of Ginder to graduation.  However, with him on the pool deck assisting Head Coach Joel Shinofield, the Generals again made a great run.  Now a senior, Sweet kicked off an outstanding championship by winning the National Championship in the 50 free in an NCAA-record time of 19.85.  Sweet later qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50 free, finishing in 64th place out of 113 competitors.  He would go on to swim for the University of Louisville during the 2008-09 season while attending medical school.  He qualified for the 2009 NCAA Division I Championships and was a member of the 200 medley relay team, which finished 11th overall, the highest-ever finish by a Cardinals’ relay team at Nationals.

January 17, 2009
The W&L Women’s swimming team knocks off Gettysburg (135-127) for the first time in program history.  Senior Lindsey Strachan keyed the win by claiming two individual events and swimming on one winning relay team.  She won the 200 back in 2:09.53, besting the 26-year old pool record and later, Coach Kami Gardner found herself in the pool after being tossed in by the team.

2009 NCAA Championship
Strachan becomes the Generals first women’s All-American since Hoehl in 1999 when she finished 11th in the 200 back at the NCAA Division III Championships.