Friday marked the last home MIAA meet for Kalamazoo College’s senior swimmers and divers. They now begin preparations for the MIAA conference meet next month. The men were unable to beat Calvin, but the women were victorious over Calvin for the first time ever under Coach Kathy Milliken’s 12-year tenure.
It was a bittersweet night for the seniors because it signifies that they are nearly at the end of four seasons of hard work under Coach Milliken. Describing Coach Milliken’s importance, senior co-captain Nolan Foust said, “Coach Kathy [Milliken] is a great motivator, she’s personally invested in all her swimmers.”
Foust is a senior who studies biology with a concentration in neuroscience. Thinking back before senior night, he remembers some of his best memories coming in practice. Foust said, “In practice we have a lot of rivalries and we push each other, but because we suffer together it gives us a lot of camaraderie.”
Women’s senior co-captain Hannah Olsen also had much reflecting to do with the occasion of senior night. Olsen studies physics and French. She remembers her favorite team moments coming from bonding outside the pool. “When we went snorkeling as a team in the Florida Keys during training trip, it’s so fun for everybody,” said Olsen.
Cam Wasko is another senior co-captain who was reminiscing about his previous three seasons at K prior to senior night. He says he is more than thankful to have swam for Coach Milliken. Wasko said, “I came to K for the coach. Kathy is awesome, she genuinely cares about us not just as athletes, but as students and people too.”
All of the seniors on the swim teams take a lot of pride in the close-knit communities of their teams. This includes many celebratory and team bonding activities, such as the men’s team ‘brotherhood’ dinners, the Florida training trip or the team celebrations that occur after winning a meet.
One such team celebration occurred two years ago when now senior diver Will Guedes won the Division 3 national championship in 3M diving. “The team was very happy for me,” said Guedes. “It was really everyone’s accomplishment.”
This example of sharing in everything is one of the things that made senior night so bittersweet for the upcoming graduates. Senior co-captain Cam Wasko said, “What am I going to do without my teammates? I’m going to miss celebrating and ‘bro-ing’ out with my best friends.”