By Kasey Cauto
Ellen Groeneveld is taking on her last year as distance freestyle and mid-distance backstroke swimmer on the KU swim team. She began swimming at the age of eight years old, and fell in love with the sport instantly. In the 14 years she has been swimming competitively, she has learned that “anything is possible, if you want something enough and you put your heart into it, you can do it.”
The greatest achievement Groeneveld has conquered thus far in her swimming career was being able to swim for a Division II team. “People thought I wouldn’t be able to make it in a Division II team, but I proved them wrong,” She said. She started out in college with not being able to swim more than two miles a day, no lifting experience and a weak stroke. She raised the bar to swimming double, gaining the lifting experience and fixing her stroke.
However, it’s a lot of dedication, hard work and is time consuming. Groenveld explains her practice schedule, which consists of at least two and a half hours of swimming per day every week, two hours of distance practice and lifting at least once a week. “It’s a lot to get used to,” she said. “I’m constantly sore and exhausted, but I’m always improving.”
Head coach Tim Flannery of the KU swim team has made an impact on Ellen’s career. “He’s the best coach I’ve had. He cares about all the swimmers and helps us with anything we need,” said Groenveld. “He pushes me to do some really hard practices, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.” Alex Crigler, a former swimmer for KU, is the assistant coach of the team. “She’s always there to help calm us down before an event when we get stressed,” Ellen said, “Her practices are extremely tough but it benefits the team.”
Without swimming in her life, Groenveld has no clue where she would be.
The sport has helped her gain both physical and mental skills, along with skills in time management. She accomplished her goal with hard work and the help of her coaches. Groenveld hopes to further her education in psychology after graduating KU, and continue to swim competitively in the future.
In her most recent meet, Growenveld finished with a career-best 12:10:99 agianst California University of Pa.
In her four years as a KU swimmer, she has competed in seven meets and has participated in freestyle and the backstroke. She is one of four seniors on the team that will graduate in the spring.
Her next meet will take place this weekend at the Franklin and Marshall Invite. The starting gun will fire off at Fri. Nov, 21, and will end on Sunday, Nov 23.