Swim team in strong form

by Ben Zimmerman | 11/24/03 6:00am

Every so often, we seem to hear about a person literally brought back from the dead. Flat lining on the operating table, a shot of adrenaline or jolt of electricity tears the deceased corpse from the clutches of death and returns him or her among the living. Upon recovery, the person remarks that his perspective on the world has changed; every moment must be treasured, and every challenge must be met with maximum effort.

Such a story recently came out of Dartmouth; only this newfound appreciation for life was experienced many times over, by women making up the swimming and diving team. The women split their weekend competitions, scoring a 147-133 victory over the University of Vermont Catamounts while falling 130-75 to the Brown University Bears, but through it all, spirits remained high.

"Personally, I'm always thinking about the way things could have been," women's captain Lauren Gilhooly '04 said.

"I'm so thankful to have the chance to train, to spend time almost everyday with my teammates and coaches, to get up and race. I don't know what my senior year would have been like without this team. I've always been thankful for the opportunities that come with being a varsity athlete at Dartmouth, but now I am even more so."

On Saturday, Dartmouth posted victories in three of the nine featured relay events -- the 400 medley, 800 free and 200 fly. Sunday highlights included the NCAA Zone qualifying performances by divers Alyssa Helsing '07 and Kate Brodie '06.

Earlier this season, the women's team beat Cornell, for their first Ivy League victory since 1999, and lost to Harvard.

Both the women and their counterparts on the men's team have gotten back to business, but it may take a long time for the swimming and diving program to unconditionally forgive the administration. Athletes and coaches chose to put the past behind them and focus on the upcoming season, but others addressed the lingering hurt.

"I know a lot of people on the team," Adams said, "and the saddest part was it really changed the way swimmers feel about the administration."

Still, the swim team is back, entertaining old fans and winning new ones. One newcomer to the sport, Frances Cha '07, had this to say: "I went to my first swim meet on Saturday. It was the hottest experience of my life."