For Girls Swimming & Diving Co-Captain Grace Hwang ’22, the most important values are fostering a tight-knit community and promoting only positive energy. Hwang’s encouraging aura motivates her teammates to work as hard as they can; she hopes that by the end of season, all of her teammates will improve in one way or another, possibly even securing new personal bests.
According to Hwang, she values team bonding as it encourages her teammates to support each other in every meet. Forming strong bonds within the team creates an added motivation to win.
“When someone else has a good swim, then you can also feel the positive energy from that… And if you don’t have any motivation, you have at least one motivation that you want to do well, for your team, at least, even if you’re having a bad day, you’re like, ‘okay, I can do this for the team.’ And then you have everyone at the end of your lane supporting you. And I think that’s why I want us to be close,” Hwang said.
Co-Captain Ashley Vensel ’22 highlights Hwang’s patience and organization when it comes to the team. Specifically, she points out Hwang’s ability to work well with her teammates and contagious enthusiasm.
“She is so patient with everyone on the team and also makes sure everything gets done. She’s been helping me with all of the merch and all the logistical things… She’s just very cooperative with everybody. And [she is] also very encouraging like I try to be and cheers her lowerclassmen teammates on and comforts them whenever they’re maybe feeling down or upset about times or whatever. She definitely swoops in and just cheers people up,” said Vensel.
Hwang explained her aspirations for the team as the season comes to a close. Not only does she hope for each individual to achieve their own goals, such as setting new personal bests, but she also hopes for the team to continue to bond and improve as a whole.
Hwang said, “I’m not sure what everyone’s individual’s goals are, but I hope that everyone has accomplished at least one of their individual goals by the end of the season. And then also, it’d be great if we could win New England’s but we’ll have to see about that, obviously. And I hope that [by the end of the season], everyone feels close to each other.”
Molly MacKinnon ’24 acknowledges Hwang’s presence throughout the season as a tremendous help to everyone on the team. In particular, MacKinnon described the support of Hwang during relays and difficult sets to be uplifting and helpful.
MacKinnon said, “Grace has been a really good captain to everyone this year because she has been really supportive and is always cheering people on and encouraging everyone and getting us through really hard sets. Also, she has been really great in relays especially because she always supports her teammates and she’s been doing really well in all of her events, especially the relays.”
Hwang believes that earnest connections and trust transcend beyond the sport of swimming itself. She hopes that by forming a close-knit team, everyone will feel included and belonging.
“I think one important thing is making sure that the team knows everybody knows each other. If there are not any like cliques that are forming and that we’re all like supporting each other. Everyone is a part of the team. I think that’s really important. Having everyone grow up close to each other. Just in terms of supporting each other, always cheering for each other, and if someone’s having a bad race, or a bad day, just ask each other how we’re doing… I think that’s the main thing,” said Hwang.