Senior Oscar Ramos wrote the word “commitment” on the whiteboard during the first swim meeting of the year. Ramos first spoke of a strong first semester for the newly created club, with many new friendships being created. But after officers and members new or old introduced themselves he made it clear that improvement would take effort.
The president of the Swim Club at UTRGV knows that “commitment” is something that members trying to get better need to keep in mind to stay afloat.
“You have to train a lot every day, if you really want to see a change,” Ramos said.
“If you want to lose weight, you know the process. If you want to get better grades, you know the process. If you want to get better at swimming, you already know the process.”
The process is made easier with flexible time and members that serve as instructors to fellow swimmers in the club. Practice is held indoors at the HPE 1 building outside of the UTRGV Fieldhouse. The club meets on dry land every three weeks to ensure things are running smoothly but most of their time together is in the water.
The mix of experienced swimmers and those looking to improve their skill is something that makes the club unique.
Ramos, Secretary Jasmine Cirlos and Vice President Edar Arzamendi lead practices that take place three times a week. Swimmers are encouraged to attend as much practice as possible, as well as swim on their own. Members pay $25 in dues, with additional items, such as shirts and swim caps being offered to members who pay up to $45.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, they practice from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. On Saturdays, they convene from noon to 2 p.m. There are also open swim times for all students in HPE hosted by UREC.
Arzamendi says the club’s focus is bringing attention to a sport that does not get a lot of it.
“A major goal for Swim Club is to bring attention to a sport seldom practiced on the regular,” the senior said. “We love swimming and we want people to know how to swim and feel confident to do it competitively. We welcome all levels and we truly are a family so it will embody the lifestyle of being in a college organization.”
The education major hopes that one day swimming will be incorporated into the Athletics department. The Western Athletic Conference currently has seven swim teams, but only three are full-time members of the conference.
“I want the club to become something that is part of Athletics,” the 21-year-old senior said. “There is a lot of talent that comes straight out of the high schools but there is no team.”
Cirlos, a McAllen resident, swam in high school and has instructed younger children before. However, she says coaching peers is a different experience altogether.
“It’s a lot easier I would say,” said the 20-year-old kinesiology major. “With little kids I don’t get to give them the hardest sets. It’s more like teaching the basics, and here it’s coaching. Usually they already have an idea.”
The club’s secretary went on to say the group is a mixed bag of experienced and intermediate swimmers.
“It’s really half and half,” Cirlos said. “A few of them swam in high school and they already know. The rest of them know how to swim, they get the idea, but they want to focus on technique and work on skills. That’s where me and Edar and Oscar come in.”
The club’s motto is “we’re here to serve you” and the instructors seem to be taking a strong interest in making everyone better at the art of swimming.
The Swim Club at UTRGV also looks to host competition later in the spring so the fruits of their labor can be put on full display.