Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Lack of knowledge and length of meets deter swim and dive fans

<lass="page layoutArea column" title="Page 1">

Since we met the Carleton Swim head coach Andy Clark last week, as part of our Coaches Corner, this week I will discuss further the sport of swimming and its popularity.

Swimming isn’t for everyone. The long days in the pool and the extended days at meets, watching event after event, can get pretty tedious. On campus, it seems as if we never hear from swimmers, so I assumed that they pretty much keep to themselves. Swimming is definitely not the most popular sport, but there are some dedicated swimmers that compete for Carleton every day. Should they get more recognition? It is hard to find a reason to say no to that question: of course we want our athletic teams to succeed. We also want each individual student-athlete to compete well and achieve overall success as a team. But for our swim squad, it doesn’t seem like our campus really cares that much about their success. Is this because of the sports’ lack of popularity, or because of the patience it takes to watch a swim meet?

The length of swim meets and the lack of knowledge of the sport of swimming itself most likely contributes to the lack of spectators at these events. The small crowds delve into why athletes and the team overall has a hard time receiving any recognition from campus residents. Marly Schrom ’19 and Karl Schwarzkopf ’19, both members of the Carleton swim team, believe that this holds true.

“The length of swim meets may be a factor in the smaller number of students who spectate,” Schwarzkopf said. “From start to finish, dual meets can often take four or more hours, which is a lot of time for a college student’s busy schedule.” Swimming can be compared to a sport like baseball in this sense. Although swimming is less popular, the length of time it takes for a baseball game to complete can be upwards of three hours. For spectators of swimming, I can imagine that it wouldn’t be the most fun sport to watch. Schrom also attributed the lack of spectators at swim meets to the “pool area being so warm,” making the event “pretty uncomfortable” to watch. On the contrary, sports such as basketball are in an air conditioned and comfortable gym. Spectators generally prefer a comfortable environment to enhance the spectating experience.

Schrom also attributed some of swimming’s lack of popularity to the the sport itself. “People find it easier to watch and care about sports they understand,” she said. “I think this is why sports that involve a ‘goal’ are more popular. People understand when basketball players make a basket, that they get a point. The point system in swimming is a bit more complicated.”

Unfortunately for our swimmers here, it doesn’t appear like the student body finds swimming popular. Because of this, it seems rare to know a swimmer, especially if you aren’t on or around the swim team quite often. I personally know a few swimmers, such as Schrom and Schwarzkopf, because they live on my floor. This lack of visibility could be because swimmers hang out together quite often. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams have dinner together in Burton after practice almost every day, and according to Schrom, “it’s more like an extended family than anything.”

I think the Carleton community should give the swim team some more love. Both Schwarzkopf and Schrom said they would love to have more students attending and cheering them on, even if it is for only part of the meet.

There are so many swimmers and divers on campus, yet it seems as if their individual performances, and the outcome for their team as a whole, are hidden from the casual student’s view. Although this holds true for most athletes and sports teams here because of the overall student body’s lack of passion for sports, swimmers seem to be the most closeted. We sometimes forget about swimming because of its absence from media outlets across the country. I believe it is time that our swim team branch out and finally make swimming a relatively popular sport on campus.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *