The DePauw men and women’s swimming and diving teams were both recognized by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for achieving team grade point averages of 3.0 or higher during the 2016 Fall Semester.
Amongst the team’s recognized by the CSCAA, the highest GPA’s were posted by the Vassar College men with a 3.59 and the MIT women with a 3.72. The DePauw men’s team achieved a team GPA of 3.19, while the women’s team bested the men with a team GPA of 3.30.
While there are several factors that propelled the teams to achieving their fantastic academic record, such as mandatory study tables three times a week, none are as important as the academic culture that surrounds the team. The swimmers support each other to become the best students they can be, and also provide help individually when a teammate is struggling in a class.
“We want to create an environment where first years and sophomores can ask for help from the upperclassmen,” explains men’s head coach Adam Cohen. “Study tables provide a perfect time for this to happen and the team members can receive the help that they need”. By providing a network of help for the athletes, the team members are able to hold each other accountable for their academics and improve each other’s academic performances.
Goal setting is another vital technique used by the team. It keeps the athletes focused on the results they want to achieve. “We have a team goal of a cumulative GPA above 3.0 each semester,” women’s head coach Shea Davisson says. “We talk about how important it is to attend every class, use the academic resources and libraries we have on campus, and to ask for help immediately if they are falling behind.” By setting goals in the beginning of the season, the younger swimmers know what is available if they need help, and also become acclimated to the academic culture that surrounds the team.
The athletes also give credit to the structure that their season provides them for their academic excellence. With a demanding training schedule that includes two practices a day and study tables three days a week, the team members find themselves on a precise schedule that requires them to plan out their day and find time to focus on academics.
“Swimming has allowed me to set a time schedule that makes sure I get everything done in a timely manner,” sophomore Zach Johns says. “I think that swimming sets me up to show that I can handle a very heavy workload on top of the rigorous swim schedule.” By taking on a normal academic course load and a heavy athletic schedule, the swimmers must stay on their schedule to complete everything, but these athletes have shown time and time again that they are capable of it.