Appalachian’s club swimming team continues to make a splash

Freshman health promotion major Meredith Rawls swims butterfly during swim club practice at the Student Recreation Center. Aneisy Cardo | The Appalachian

Anne Buie

Freshman health promotion major Meredith Rawls swims butterfly during swim club practice at the Student Recreation Center. Aneisy Cardo | The AppalachianWhile most students at Appalachian State are familiar with the handful of varsity sports the university offers, some may not know about the numerous club and intramural sports.

One of the club sports that is not often recognized is the Appalachian swim team.

The team is home to a variety of athletes who have joined because they love to swim or want to be part of a team.

“The swim team here at App State is a sports club,” said the team’s Co-President Kristian Hellem.  “It’s open to all students, with our current team ranging from beginners to retired varsity athletes.”

Becoming a member of the team is open to any student interested in swimming.

“There are no tryouts, and we practice four times a week,” said Haley Lingle, the club’s practice chair. “But you can come to as few or as many of those practices as you would like.”

Swimmers attend around four meets every semester, one of which is held at Appalachian.

“Our meets this semester included University of Georgia, Florida State University, Miami University in Ohio and of course our home meet,” Lingle said.

Appalachian’s swim team is one of the strongest teams in the South, and they keep improving.

“We have beat Florida State on their home turf and dominated our own home meets, defending the App State territory,” Hellem said.

Traveling to meets around the country has given the swimmers an opportunity to bond with one another and become a family, just like any other varsity sport on campus.

“Joining the club team helped ease the transition into college,” Lingle said.  “Over the course of my freshman year my teammates became my best friends.”

The sense of community the swim team carries with them has shown to be unbreakable and seems to be the magic touch during swim meets.

“We all swim purely for the love of swimming,” Hellem said. “When a group of people come together, sharing one common passion, the bond is unbreakable.”

Each swimmer has a favorite part of the sport, but a common thread between teammates is getting a win for themselves and Appalachian.

“Nothing feels better than looking at the scoreboard after a race and realizing you dropped time,” Lingle said. “I also love it when our relays win, which they do often, because you really get that team atmosphere.”

Every April, the Mountaineers travel to the East Coast Championship held at Georgia Tech. This three-day meet is the nationals for club swimming, with over 70 schools traveling to Atlanta to compete.

“Traveling together, making memories, seeing our nation as a team really brings us closer together as a family,” Hellem said.

“These are the experiences that stay with us for the rest of our lives.”


Story: KAITLYN THRUSTON, Senior Sports Reporter

Photo: ANEISY CARDO, Intern Photographer