With swim and dive into full swing at Keene State College, the members of the team hope to achieve even more this winter season. Reflecting back on her own KSC swim career, senior Hope Walsh hopes to accomplish even more, setting out to break her previous records.
Walsh has not broken any records yet this year, but hopes to and even has some in mind. Last year was an especially explosive year for the now senior swimmer. Walsh was able to break the 500 freestyle, the 1,000 freestyle, and re-broke her own 1,650 record. “Since I came here it was my goal to get those records, so I was overjoyed when I did. I was on cloud nine because my hard work paid off,” said Walsh.
Walsh has always showed great strength in swimming, even as a first-year here at KSC. Walsh was the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) champion in the 800 relay race and broke records in the 800 free relay and the 200 backstroke.
In her 2015-2016 season Walsh accomplished even more. She was named Little Eastern Conference (LEC) Swimmer of the Year, became the NEISDA Champion in the 1,650 freestyle, broke the KSC record for the 1,650 freestyle, was the NEISDA runner up in the 1,000 freestyle and 800 free relay, placed third in the 500 freestyle, was the LEC Champion in the 1,650 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 200 back and broke the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Dartmouth pool record in the 1,650 freestyle.
Even with all this experience and individual success, Walsh still says her team is one of the most important factors in her training.
Walsh said that her team is a huge part because they push her in practice, but that seeing people cheering for her on the side of the pool while she is racing is a major encouragement. “They help you stay strong and push yourself, and they remind you that you can do it. They are the support,” said Walsh.
Walsh admits that although the support is encouraging, the practices are what truly brings her body to the level it needs to be at in order to succeed.
“I push myself in the water. Those practices that make you want to cry because you’re working so hard are the ones that really make a difference in a meet,” said Walsh.
Fellow senior and teammate Rachel MacKinnon said that Walsh is overall a great athlete and swimmer.
Mackinnon said that Walsh is passionate and one great distance swimmer, displaying great performances and endurance.
MacKinnon, being a senior herself, said that without Walsh she doesn’t think she would be doing as well as she is.
“She makes me push myself. She is one of my best friends and to be able to grow with her on the team is a great feeling,” said MacKinnon.
Unfortunately fellow teammate and first-year Caroline Morgan was unable to respond for this article.
As the season progresses, Walsh does hope to make it to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), but more so hopes to just enjoy the time she has left to swim and be with her team.
Walsh added that every season there is always one meet where she gets in the water and knows she is going to succeed.
“This feeling happens maybe once or twice a season, and you work day in and day out for it all year long, so when you finally feel it, it’s euphoria,” said Walsh.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org