College Athlete – The Definition

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By: Joel Shinofield
Head Men’s Swimming Coach

Any number of words, phrases and monikers come to define us as we go through life, but for a select few of us one of those phrases will be intercollegiate athlete.  I don’t know Ted Mullin.  I know Ted’s coach at Carleton College, Andy Clark.  One of my former swimmers on the Richfield Swim Club, John Floberg, went on to become Ted’s teammate at Carleton.  Two of our swimmers here at W&L, Tess Hayden and Charlie Gentles, swam at New Trier high school where Ted swam in his home town of Winnetka, IL.  I know that Ted loved being a collegiate swimmer right until the end of his battle with cancer.  In the words of Andy Clark:

Ted was the ultimate friend and teammate at Carleton, who led by example and always gave nothing less than what he was capable of, making the most of each moment he had,” Carleton head swimming and diving coach Andy Clark said. “His strong sense of loyalty toward his team, teammates and friends never ebbed, regardless of how he was feeling. He was always giving of himself. We will miss him tremendously.”

I also know that Ted has inspired hundreds of swimming coaches to do something that almost no one short of an athletic director, a college president, the NCAA or an act of God is capable of doing and that is getting us to change our training plans.  Today, like hundreds of other coaches, Kami and I changed our practice plans to have our teams participate in the Hour of Power to honor Ted, raise awareness about Sarcoma and raise money for cancer fighting research at the University of Chicago.  Like many coaches we hopped in to swim with our swimmers, cheered them on, video taped the event and generally enjoyed a great hour with our team.  Sometimes as athletes and coaches we get so caught up in goals of victories, NCAA qualifying times and records that we forget the most important aspects of that definition of intercollegiate athlete: team, fun, family, support, connection, camaraderie and unity.

Thank you Ted for reminding us all what is truly important in college sports. It is an honor to share a few personally defining phrases with you, swimmer and intercollegiate athlete.

If you would like to learn more about the Hour of Power and possible even donate to the cause, please go to:

http://apps.carleton.edu/athletics/varsity_sports/mens_swimming_and_diving/hour_of_power_relay/

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