By: Olivia Wile
Though being a college athlete can seem like a full-time job, academics are essential to the success on the field, on the court and in the pool. This is a staple on the University of Findlay men’s and women’s swimming and diving team.
After being honored by the College Swim Coach Association of America for their work in the classroom this fall, however, the defending GMAC champions are still striving to do better.
Head Coach Andrew Makepeace says that he would like to see his teams do better academically next semester, specifically on the men’s side.
“It is a little bit disappointing, which is unfortunate to say because there are a lot of programs out there that don’t get recognized,” said Makepeace. “We fortunately have a really strong history with being recognized for academic success and we want to continue that, but it’s disappointing because our team had higher goals for a collective GPA and they didn’t achieve that.”
In order to be recognized by the CSCAA, college swim teams must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher with a roster of 12 or more student athletes. The women finished with a 3.52, with the men just making the cut at a 3.05. There has only been one year during Makepeace’s time at the University that his men’s team missed the cut.
Though team captain Tyler Adkins agrees his team can do better, he feels there are parameters in place to make it happen.
“I think overall we have improvements to make,” said Adkins. “But I think we’ve put in some systems to help our men’s team get to where our goal is for our men’s GPA.”
These parameters include study tables monitored by the coaching staff. Makepeace requires all first-semester freshmen to log five or more study table hours each week. His student-athletes can opt out of study tables once they’ve achieved a 3.25 GPA or higher.
“As first year student athletes we want to set the bar high and give them high expectations for themselves, moving forward, to give them the opportunity to have good study habits without being micromanaged.”
Junior Trent Williams feels holding his teammates accountable could help bolster the team GPA as well.
“I think one thing that would be really good is just being accountable for everyone else and making sure people are going to classes,” said Williams. “There’s at least one other person within the same major so just making sure people are going to class and if they’re struggling help them out.”
Though recognizing his team’s hard work, Makepeace states he just has high expectations for the group.
“We just expect more from them academically, that’s their priority because once they leave here, the focus is going to be their future profession,” stated Makepeace. “If they’re not learning and not doing their part, well that’s why they are at the University of Findlay anyways.”
The team competes at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship meet Feb. 13-16. Both the men and women look forward to bringing back team titles again this year.