Shouts From The Stands: Cheers To Year 1 – A BIG EAST Review From A Freshman’s Perspective

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This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Emma May, a freshman swimmer at UConn.

Well, that was what felt like the longest and quickest week of my life all at the same time. However, it was one of the best and most memorable weeks of my life! I am living THE dream, and I am so grateful I have the opportunity and privilege to swim at UConn, and in the BIG EAST conference.

As a freshman, I came into this conference knowing a substantial amount of people. Every single one of those people was so thrilled when I came in. I only heard incredible things about conference championships, the atmosphere, the electricity, the energy, all of the above. So, it’s safe to say I came into this meet with high expectations. The BIG EAST does NOT disappoint!

Never have I ever been in a crowd of individuals with so much energy, so much passion for racing, and respect for others. The energy wasn’t simply there at finals like a typical meet; in prelims everyone stepped up and made that pool deck loud and proud. Teams weren’t just cheering for their own teammates, but for former teammates, friends made along the way, and people who were having just remarkable races. The meet was back and forth between UConn and Villanova women all weekend, which brought even more energy to the meet. Saturday night, the pool deck was all cheering for a group of Seton Hall swimmers. They had incredible 1650 races and took the gold in the men’s and women’s sides. The whole crowd was cheering proudly for those swimmers. Freshmen were achieving NCAA ‘B’ standards, and everyone was so proud of those athletes in their conference. This conference is bigger than just one’s team.

In the diving sector, all the swimmers would crowd around the diving well to watch the divers do their thing. Men’s and women’s were both so impressive and had incredible competition. Just like swimming, some divers hit some beautiful dives, and everyone would erupt in cheers! Especially swimmers, because diving is a world vastly different than ours, and it puts so many of us in awe seeing them do their thing.

Being quite the extrovert myself, I chatted it up with countless people on deck over the week. Some I knew from a lifetime ago, some I just met, and some made me realize how small the swim world truly is. When people found out I was a freshman, they were thrilled and welcomed me to my first conference meet, no matter the team. The cold tub created some good friendships this past week. Nobody had a bad thing to say about this conference, and championships in general. The kindness and welcoming spirit was truly beautiful, and something I know is so special to this conference. The connections to other people are also insane. In this swimming universe, you will always find a friend of a friend. I found multiple in just two days.

As the meet continued, and I saw the same people throughout the week, we would remember what the other was swimming, and cheered for them in races. I had support in my mid-day mile from a couple of swimmers on other teams, then again when I swam in finals for the 200 breast. All swimmers have experienced a dirty double at some point, and having the support from people outside your team is uplifting and fun to see.

BIG EAST concluded, and before the awards started, the DJ was just letting the music play, and all the teams started having little on-deck dance parties. The coaches, swimmers, divers, were celebrating the end of the meet on a high note. UConn and Seton Hall came together for a joint dance party. Core memories were made this past week to say the very least. This conference, as everyone has told me before, is something truly special, and I am honored to be part of it as a UConn swimmer.

Congratulations to everyone who competed this weekend! Can’t wait for next year to come around again!

Go Huskies!

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Emma May
1 month ago

Thank you SwimSwam!!

1 month ago

And that’s the way it shouid be!! So fun!!