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Biola's underplayed sport is still staying afloat

This week’s interview started out much like last week’s. I had my questions ready. I was sitting at a table outside Commons. But this time, I was sipping away at a blue raspberry slurpee from Eagle’s Nest, so I felt much more prepared.

This week I had the pleasure of visiting with Monica Hurt, a freshman on the Biola Women’s Swim team. Yes. That’s right. Biola DOES have a swim team. There is actually an outdoor swimming pool next to the soccer field! Shocking. I know. Well, like you (perhaps), I don’t immediately think of swimming when I think of Biola sports. It is this lack of inclusion that has brought me to my first dilemma of this blog. You see, my blog is entitled, “Off The Field.” But what am I to call this week’s post? “Out of the pool?”

Well, I will deal with this dilemma later on. For now, let’s turn our attention back to my interview with Monica. The one question I plan on keeping in every interview is this: “Why Biola?” Cliche? Yes. Still interesting? You betcha (that Minnesotan slang for “yes”). Monica’s answers to this question involved many of your typical ones: Christian atmosphere, good sports (swim) program, and God. You often here these answers, but rarely do you hear the results. After all, you might be pulled to Biola by these three things only to find out the atmosphere is anything less than Christian, the sports program stinks, and God didn’t want you here after all. But this has not been the case for Monica so far.

Swimming, soreness, and socializing

Let’s start with swimming. Monica has been swimming since she was six. I asked her if she was a naturally talented swimmer from the get-go. Her answer was neither yes nor no. Monica simply stated that as she began to realize that she really enjoyed swimming, she began to swim competitively, and with competition came talent. Monica admitted that college is definitely a step up from high school. Between two-a-days at 2 1/2 hours a piece and lifting weights, Monica says she is “always sore.”

Monica admitted that being a freshman on the team has been a little weird, especially considering there are only three other freshman. This is where, for her, swimming intertwines with Biola’s Christian community. “The upperclassman have been really helpful,” Monica stated, adding that one junior specifically took the freshman “under her wings.”

So it would appear that the swimming and Christian atmosphere have proved true for Monica thus far, but what about God? No problem there either. Monica stated that she has seen evidence of God’s hand in her life even in this first month of school. Monica said that God has really helped her get “established” on campus, especially in a “social aspect.” Between working out her class schedule, putting caring people on her swim team, and just helping her make friends, Monica says she has been extremely blessed. She said it’s like as soon as she would tell God she needed a friend, the next moment someone would be there for her. And while swimming and social life take up much of her time, Monica says she has had no problem juggling the two along with academics. Once again she gave the credit to God.

So...how about those swim meets?

So there you have it. Biola’s good ol’ Christian atmosphere, our outstanding sports programs, and God pull through once again. This left me with only one question left (which is quite possibly my favorite question to ask). “Do you have anything to add?” I love asking this because it allows my interviewees to tell you something that I may not have thought of. But her answer was a somber one. “I’m glad you’re doing this about a swimmer,” she said. “Swimming is underplayed.” Monica seems to think that no one really cares about swimming that much, and I’d say she is exactly right. You see guys paint their chests red and white for basketball games. You hear fans screaming at the soccer team as they score another goal. You see the students standing around the pool cheering on the swim team...except you don’t.

Now even Monica admitted that Biola doesn’t have any home meets, but she isn’t necessarily asking you to attend a meet. Just to be aware of and support it. Think back to the last summer Olympics. Did any of you watch that one swimmer? What’s his name.....Michael Phelps? I don’t know about you, but not only am I not really into swim teams, I myself hate swimming. But for some reason I found myself watching every single one of Phelps’ events. And that’s all Monica wants people to know. “Swimming is really exciting,” she said, and I’d have to agree.

So maybe it’s time to start keeping up with Biola’s “underplayed” sport. If you know a swimmer, ask him or her about the sport. If you don’t, meet one and then ask them. And if you want to be the swim team’s best fan, go to a meet sometime. Who knows...maybe together we can make swimming Biola’s most attended sport. I wouldn’t bet your wooden nickel on that, but maybe at least we can make a few fans out of our fellow students.

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