The Simpson pool was a little emptier than Nicole Darling, assistant director of student activities and intramural director, would have liked on Sunday, Feb. 17, but that didn’t stop her or the participants in the Intramural Swimming Competition from enjoying themselves.
The contestants splish-splashed their way to the finish after some exhausting races that included less than 15 swimmers overall. Last year was the first ever Swimming Competition, which Darling coordinated after being urged by several students to incorporate some kind of pool activity into the intramural program. Darling didn’t have much to say about the lack of interest for the second-ever competition.
“Some students may look at swimming as being difficult,” Darling said. “Interest changes year to year but I encourage people to try it.”
Last year’s competition was a team relay format, but with the small numbers Darling decided to make it an individual contest this year, with separate races for men and women. Last year also included ring toss and belly flop challenges, but were not continued this year.
“The belly flop was too dangerous,” Darling said. “The way they came out of the water and what their chests looked like, I decided not to do it.”
Junior Erik Lickiss stroked his way through the competitions. For him, swimming comes naturally, but without swimming being a varsity sport at Simpson, he is hard-pressed to find ways to stay involved in the sport.
“I’ve always loved to swim; I’ve been involved in it for as long as I can remember,” Lickiss said. “To be able to swim competitively instead of just for exercise is really fun.”
As for the lack of interest in the competition, Lickiss is in the same pool as Darling.
“I don’t know why participation is so low this year,” Lickiss said. “It seemed like people had a lot of fun last year.”
Junior Wade Davey swam in last year’s relay competition, but enjoyed the different aspect that the individual races brought. He also agreed with Darling’s point on the small numbers at the event.
“It was kind of interesting with the individual race instead of the team race like last year,” Davey said.
Davey is also a member of the Simpson Swim Club. He likes swimming for the exercise and personal fulfillment.
“The workout from swimming keeps you in tip-top shape,” Davey said. “When you keep working hard you see your times drop.”
The Simpson Swim Club has six members and travels and competes with the women’s team, but cannot score points since they are a club and not a varsity team. Davey is intrigued when he thinks of what could have been if the club was a real team.
“With the talent we have, I think we could shake some stuff up in the conference,” Davey said.
Davey and Lickiss have actually known each other for years, as the two attended Indianola High School, although they had never swum against each other prior to this event. Both enjoyed competing for the fun of it.