It doesn’t get much better than this, sports fans. At high noon on Friday, hundreds gathered to cheer the students and coaches of the 2011 Big Red men’s swimming and diving team for their first-ever NCAA National Championship.
The “Rally on the Quad” outside Slayter featured remarks by President Dale Knobel, Provost Brad Bateman, Head Coach Gregg Parini, and team captains Jake Lewing, a senior from Yardley, Pa., and Kyle Chabot, a senior from Washington, Mich.
The messages were all about “team.”
“Swimming, in some ways, is a solitary sport, but in other ways, it’s a team sport,” Knobel said, “and that’s what we saw on display this last weekend. Each individual not only sought to perform at the highest level, but they were convinced they weren’t going to let their teammates down.”
Parini’s pride was apparent. “The alumni and I challenged this group early on in the season,” he said, “and it became our team mantra: ‘Never be afraid of failure, but be absolutely terrified of being forgotten.’ This team will never be forgotten.”
Parini also credited the coaching staff: Jason Glorius, Matt Ense, Rachel Schlatter, Alexa Robinson-O’Neill, and Bill Mason ’57.
And here’s a bit of trivia: What does the team’s signature pose mean — the one where they’re standing tall with their fists meeting above their heads?
We hear it symbolizes an unbroken circle: a continuous bond between the swimming and diving alumni who built the program’s traditions and the current team members who will, in turn, support future generations of swimmers and divers.
To prove it, Chabot said, “This championship belongs to a lot of people. First, the alumni. We had constant visits from the alumni throughout the year, reminding us, over and over again, that we had the chance to do something special.”
And so they did.