Swimming has finally come to Cedarville’s campus, in the form of a club team – the Cedarville Swim Club. Sophomore Stephanie Huyser spearheaded the birth of the new sport at Cedarville. Huyser, a sophomore early childhood education major, said she wanted to start a club team immediately upon getting to Cedarville.
She said she started the Cedarville Swim Club because she “couldn’t have lived another year without swimming.”Huyser has been swimming competitively since eighth grade, and said she was disappointed when she realized Cedarville did not have a team. But she was motivated to start a club because of her affinity for swimming.
In fall 2012, her freshman year at Cedarville, Huyser went to student life to inquire about creating a club. She said the toughest part of creating the club was a combination of finding enough participants and writing the constitution.
Writing the constitution required a six-hour car trip with her family to hash out the details. Huyser said she spent an entire car ride writing the three-page constitution that was mandatory for club status.
To help her with the writing and organizing of the project, Huyser said she based the swim club constitution on the recently formed Cedarville University Rugby club team. She said using the rugby team’s constitution as a guide was helpful in formulating a similar document for swimming.
When asked about the hardest part of writing the constitution, Huyser said the apparel was the most difficult.
Cedarville has a dress code most schools do not have, so she had to thoughtfully process how to make a dress code that was suitable for Cedarville and appropriate as competitive swimwear, Huyser said.
Huyser acts as not only the president and founder of the swim club but also as its coach.
“Right now, I write the workouts, and occasionally someone else will write a workout, and they will lead practice,” Huyser said. “But most of the time, it’s me coaching the team.”
The secretary of the swim club, junior Grace Poulin, came to Cedarville looking for a swim team to join.
“One of the first things I looked for at Cedarville was to see if they had a pool and if they had a swim team,” Poulin said. “To my dismay they didn’t have either, but by God’s grace, I came here anyway.”
Poulin said Huyser approached her when Poulin was a sophomore and invited her to help start the swim club. Poulin said the swim club really started to grow after that initial talk.
Right now, the newly formed Cedarville Swim Club is using Central State’s pools for its early morning workouts. The team practices at 6:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and also on Thursday afternoons.
Huyser said it was hard to find enough people to work out off-campus at an inopportune time. The swim club has roughly 20 people total, but only about 10-12 people come to practice at a time.
“I am so grateful for how many people show up,” Huyser said.
She said it’s rewarding to see these students stay faithful to the swim club and sacrifice their time for swimming.
Because of swimming’s popularity, Huyser said bringing this sport to Cedarville’s campus garners interest from prospective students.
“We have had prospective students email us wondering about our swim program,” Huyser said, “because that’s a lot of the deciding factor for people is if their sport is represented.”
Huyser said the swim team can become a great asset for Cedarville. Although she feels a lot of work needs to be done – for instance, having a pool on campus would be a vital step toward improvement – Huyser said she thinks they are off to a great start. She said that it is a young program, and she is hopeful for continual growth over the years.
Poulin said the club wants to represent Cedarville in the sport of swimming.
“I would love to see the swim club grow and have a more scheduled season,” Poulin said, “including meets that we would attend and events for other Cedarville students to support us at.”
Huyser and Poulin both said Cedarville building a pool on campus is important. They said the Cedarville Swim Club will have a hard time growing without a pool on campus.
The swim club began competing against other teams this fall. It had its first meet at Ohio State University, where the club competed against club teams from 13 other schools. Although the club finished 11th, Huyser said she was extremely happy and impressed at how her team did in its first competition.
She said she is hopeful they will have two more meets in spring 2014. Although the team would love to travel and compete on a regular basis, Huyser said a limited budget makes this difficult. The team can only afford to travel so far and so often in a given semester.
Huyser said the Cedarville Swim Club is young, and they need more time to grow and gain popularity. She said she would love to have more students’ attention on the swim team.
“I would love for the club to eventually become a team at Cedarville,” Huyser said. “I think it would be a great addition for Cedarville and attract lots of students.”
Beau Michaud is a senior communications and economics major and a sports reporter