Swimming deserves more attention
There is no athletics team on campus that I have more respect for than Rice Swimming. After living with swimmers Alicia Caldwell and Kaitlin Benjamin during my sophomore year and watching their dedication to waking up at 5 a.m., morning and afternoon practices, volunteer work and academics, I have little doubt that the swim team is one of the hardest working teams on campus. But they are constantly overlooked and their meets poorly attended.
Just taking a quick scroll through Rice Rally Club’s 82 events, swim has only one, and it’s a joint event with both basketball teams. This is unacceptable. A recent Tweet by the Rice Athletics Twitter posted a list of athletic events for the first weekend in October. Soccer, volleyball and football were present, but swimming’s home meet was forgotten. (This has been since deleted after a swimmer’s complaint.) When Rice Athletics rebranded, a Facebook video teasing the rebrand featured footage from every Rice team … except Rice swimming. After frustrated comments from swimmers’ parents, the video was taken down. Instead of simply removing posts, Rice Athletics needs to acknowledge that the scope of its advertising does not extend to Rice Swimming and must be improved.
The irony, particularly given how extensively Rice football is advertised, is that Rice swimming is really quite good. They have been Conference USA runners-up for the past three years and were the champions for the three years preceding that. Last year, six of their swimmers — Marie-Claire Schillinger, Kaitlyn Swinney, Kiley Beall, Kate Nezlek, Sarah Nowaski and Lauren Rhodes — qualified for the Olympic trials. Schillinger also qualified for the NCAA tournament. And they aren’t just good athletically. Eighteen swimmers qualified for the 2017 C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. They consistently uphold Rice’s high academic standards while excelling in athletics. What student-athletes do is essentially work a full-time job on top of their studies, and these girls do it best.
Next time you consider attending a Rice athletic event, I strongly urge you to go to a swim meet. They deserve the recognition and respect of our student body and of Rice Athletics. I’ll be hoping to see you there.
More from The Rice Thresher
Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.
In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.