Life in the fast lane: Baylor swim club making waves

Zachary Steudel leads swimming club practice on Monday evening at the SLC. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Francesca Maietta | Reporter

Not many people are aware of the fact that Baylor has a club swim team.

The Baylor swim club was founded by four men who came to college wanting to swim and compete, only to be disappointed that Baylor didn’t have anything like that other than intramurals. That wasn’t satisfying enough for them, so they decided to fill out all the paperwork and officially established the team.

The swim team competes within two affiliated organizations: the Southwest Swim League and College Club Swimming. The first is a completely student-run organization among a collection of colleges in the Southwest region that provides the team with a lot of local competition. The club joined College Club Swimming (CCS), a subsidiary of U.S. Master Swimming — a national organization that facilitates swim meats for adults across the nation. Being a part of this gives Baylor the opportunity to compete nationally, as opposed to just within the southwest.

For the first three years, the team was very small, until word got around. The team currently has about thirty members but is expected to expand this year. The team practices from 6:30 to 8 p.m. four days a week at the SLC.

Houston senior Mara Gomen joined the team her sophomore year at Baylor. During her junior year, she was elected vice president and this year she was elected president. Gomen is a short-distance backstroke swimmer who has high hopes for her team.

“I’m really excited for this swim season,” Gomen said. “The team is growing, which will only lead to more opportunities and recognition. My dream for the club is that, with its growing numbers and advanced skill set, it will be the driving force behind Baylor forming an NCAA swim team.”

Secretary of the swim team, Arizona sophomore Amanda Thomas, said she has enjoyed her time with the club.

“I feel like it has given me the opportunity to continue the sport I love and make some great friends,” Thomas said. “I hope to see this team grow and excel, and I can see that with all the new talent that joined us this season, we are very much on our way to making this happen.”

The club is student-coached, with Houston sophomore Zac Steudel taking the reins as head coach. Steudel said he is on board with the idea of expanding the team.

“I hope that through the growth we are seeing on this team that we can become a competitive force within swimming in Texas and beyond,” Steudel said.

Aside from swimming, the team organizes events and other fun activities outside of the pool, just like any other club. It is a good way to get to know people around campus that share the same love for swimming, but it is not only for swim buffs, according to Gomen.

“We’ve had people who didn’t know how to swim who are now setting their best personal times,” said Gomez. “Part of this whole team is to inform those who don’t know so much or would like to know more about the sport of swimming.”

Baylor hosts a swim meet in November at the Waco Family YMCA.