Starting today, follow the exploits of the San Jose State women's swimming and diving team during the 2008-09 season through periodic blogs from multiple guests here at SJSUSpartans.com.
Today’s first edition is a two-part entry, giving fans of Spartan Swimming & Diving both a senior and a freshman perspective of the first few weeks of training, leading up to the start of the season next week.
Checking in to start us off is Tarolyn Robertson, a native of Santee, Calif., who will serve as one of three team captains in this, her fourth and final year of college swimming. Robertson excels in the butterfly stroke, with the 100 fly in particular, and ranks fifth all-time at San Jose State in the 100 fly and 10th in the 200 fly, while also swimming sprint freestyle. She is a five-time All-Western Athletic Conference performer and earned a pair of gold medals at the 2008 WAC Championship as the anchor of the first-place 200 and 400 freestyle relays, to go alongside two bronze medals for third-place efforts as the butterfly leg in the 200 and 400 medley relays.
For our freshman point of view, we hear from Heather Denman, who comes to San Jose State all the way from Brookeville, Md. Denman, a backstroke specialist who could also figure in butterfly, freestyle or individual medley events, has already made an impression on her new team, handily winning its first intrasquad competition as an individual on Friday, September 5, before providing three event wins in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM to help lead the Spartan Gold to victory at the annual Blue-Gold Meet on Saturday, September 20.
San Jose State opens the 2008-09 campaign next Friday, October 3, with a dual meet at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Blog Entry #1: Part I (Friday, September 26)
Senior Tri-Captain Tarolyn Robertson
To begin, I can’t believe this is my senior season. It feels like just yesterday, I was walking into The Aquatics Center as a freshman for the first time. Through my first three seasons as a Spartan, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with so many different girls. In my time here, I’ve been able to watch this team grow and build. Every year, our team has consistently gotten faster. As one (senior) class graduates, a new (freshman) class enters and becomes Spartans. And every year, the incoming class stands out as an amazing recruiting class.
This year’s freshmen are truly outstanding. They have a great work ethic, and are challenging the returners both in the pool and in the weight room. Given that I have been able to train with so many girls, I have been able to build many friendships while at San Jose State. Last year, my best friend from home, Caitlin Macky, joined the team. To have Caitlin here has really added a lot to my college experience. Last year at the WAC Championship, we were given the opportunity to compete on two different relay teams together, which is something I will never forget. I have really enjoyed being a Spartan, and can’t express enough my excitement for this upcoming season. Our team is really off to a great start.
Two weekends ago, our team took our annual camping trip to Santa Cruz. Last year, our trip was cut short due to rain. Being that this was my fourth camping trip, I was really interested in seeing how the team would react to the whole experience, especially since the previous year wasn’t very fun with all of the bad weather. We left Friday morning and spent most of the day setting up tents and finding out more about our other teammates through various activities.
Saturday was probably one of the best days I’ve ever had on this team. We woke up early and went down to do a “CrossFit” workout on the beach. Everyone worked really hard and the coaches even participated. After the workout, the team decided to go for a swim in the ocean. And, I must mention the water was about 55 degrees. The coaches had a hard time getting us out because we were having so much fun. The rest of the day was filled with more meetings, goal setting, lifeguard games, and another swim in the ocean. Overall, I’d have to say this was the best camping trip I’ve been on. The entire team enjoyed themselves and everyone can’t wait to go back.
Once back in San Jose, we put in another week of training, but it was slightly different because we held our annual Blue vs. Gold meet. To make things more interesting, the Blue team and Gold team had separate practices. Each team made up its own cheers and had separate team dinners the night before the meet. Since I did not compete, I was not assigned to a team, which allowed me to go to both team activities. I’ve never seen so much team spirit, to say the least. Posters were made, cheers were created, and the teams really had fun with it all. As for the competition, the divers dove the day prior (Friday) to the swim meet (Saturday). The divers really did a nice job, and Jo (Thibodaux) helped get the Blue team out to an early lead. For the swimming portion, I was really impressed. The hard work that everyone has put in really showed.
After our first month of training, I couldn’t be more excited for our upcoming season and the team we have this year. I believe this team will do amazing things this season. We’re hoping for our best finish ever at the WAC Championship (in February), in addition to traveling to the first-ever WAC Shootout (October 10-11).
Blog Entry #1: Part II (Friday, September 26)
Freshman Heather Denman
I came to San Jose State University all the way from Brookeville, Maryland. I arrived not knowing what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was everything I wanted it to be. Right away, all the girls bonded together like we had known each other for years. There was no class division or different cliques. Every girl brings something uniquely special to the team.
The second Friday of school was our intrasquad pentathlon meet. Everyone swam a 100-yard race of each stroke and then a 100 (yards of) kick on a kickboard. The times were added up together for a cumulative time to decide the winner. I was extremely nervous racing for the first time in front of a new team and a new coach, but surprisingly, the meet wasn’t anywhere near as intense as I thought it was going to be. It was just everyone having fun, cheering for each other and doing what we enjoy.
The following weekend, we were rewarded with a camping/team bonding trip to Santa Cruz for two nights. We left Friday morning and came home Sunday morning. The camping trip was tons of fun. One of my favorite activities was when we were paired up with a teammate we didn’t know too well. Over the weekend, each class got to know one another during our class meetings in which we had to come up with a skit, and also set class goals. I would like to add at this point that the FRESHMEN should have won the skit competition, because ours was the best! We spent the rest of the hours joking around and laughing, whether it was at the campsite, dinner, or on the amazing beach. The camping trip brought our team even closer together than we already were, and after that, everyone was looking forward to our dual meets coming up over the next few weeks.
Last Friday, we had our Blue vs. Gold meet, where the team was split into Gold and Blue teams to compete against each other. This meet was the usual 16-event format, beginning with the medley relay and ending with the 200 freestyle relay; all of the individual races being held in between. The meet was very exciting and came down to the final relay, with Julia Koch anchoring the Gold team to victory!
Next Friday, we are swimming against Stanford. I cannot begin to describe the adrenaline all of us girls have for the season to finally start and for us to show the conference the talent we have. I hope to see all of you who read this at some of our meets. If you don’t, you will surely be missing out!