SWIMMING: Seniors say goodbye

Josh Buckman

Leadership has flowed from the top down this season for Western’s swimming and diving program.

It has been the thing that has both the men’s and women’s teams on the verge of school history.

Saturday, both teams take time out to honor its senior leaders before their meets against Southwest Missouri and Emory.

Midway through the meet when the pool is being prepared for diving, all seven seniors (four men and three women) will be acknowledged.

Senior Day is usually reserved for the last home meet, although the men’s teams’ final meet will be Wednesday.

“I’m excited,” senior Deanne Thomas said. “I’ve been swimming a long time, and so I guess I’m both excited and nervous.

“But talk to me on Saturday, it might be different.”

The men will honor Gord Veldman, Donny Glass, Charlie Knight and Jerrod Janes. The women will show appreciation to Carol Brown, Meredith McCauley and Thomas.

Not every senior will say goodbye to their competitive career. Both Veldman and Janes will continue to compete on higher levels.

“I don’t know if it’s that hard for me really because I’m going to be swimming next year, not with Western, but I’m not going to be done swimming,” Veldman said. “If I was going to be done swimming then it would be a little emotional, but I’m ready to move on.”

Other team members felt that this meet would be difficult.

“I know it’s going to be hard when we’re close to finishing the meet, and I look back, and I look at everybody and all the hard work we’ve been through, and I know that’s been a part of my life that is never going to come back,” Brown said. “It’s going to be hard.”

Others look at it as the end of challenge.

“I’m ready to move on,” Glass said. “I feel that I’m at a point where I’m not going to get much better than I am now so … I’m going to be ready to let it go.”

The seniors can now look back on all their accomplishments during their four years of competition.

“I came in as a walk on, and I was just from a small town,” Knight said. “I was just excited and very pleased to make a Division I team, and then just through practicing here and listening to the coaches I just got better and better and ended up getting a scholarship my senior year.”

McCauley had quit the team her sophomore year, but returned when she missed it.

“One day I was sitting on my bed, and I thought ‘you know there’s something missing and it’s swimming,'” she said.

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