Respect for All, Recruited or Not

"Whether they admit it or not, students want to be excited about something here." - Quiana Jones  Photo Collage by Paul Blascovich

"Whether they admit it or not, students want to be excited about something here." - Quiana Jones  Photo Collage by Paul Blascovich

In recent years, Sarah Lawrence College has placed a greater emphasis on athletics by recruiting high school players for their sports teams. Opinions on this change vary from student to student. Some students enjoy the slight kindling of a fire that may one day create a sense of school spirit while others feel this is a backlash on Sarah Lawrence ideals and a misuse of money. I was able to interview a student who has a unique perspective on the topic.

Quiana Jones (‘16) and right fielder on the softball team, did not come to Sarah Lawrence for sports. Instead she came for the science program with an interest in forensics. Her love for science evolved when she shadowed a pathologist and decided she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Quiana became friends with players on the team during her sophomore year and increased her communal involvement by joining SLAC. She became curious and interested in softball, seeing it as a means of exercise and joined the team her first semester of junior year. Before she got involved in softball, Quiana saw a lot of similarities between recruits and science students. 

‘People often say ‘What are you doing at SLC studying science?’ The general viewpoint is the same on athletes. The vibe with science students and recruits are very similar.”

Recruiting has become big in multiple sports and there has unfortunately been a negative opinion on this presence. Quiana recalls the nervousness of many students, which was probably attributed to the rise of males on campus. 

Their presence on campus has improved and Quiana, understanding the feelings of both the student and the athlete, has suggestions on how they can become even more accepted here at SLC.

“Whether they admit it or not, students want to be excited for something here. If we could all rally together and be excited for, lets say a basketball game, that’s unimaginable at SLC excluding the homecoming game. If we could change the culture here, I think there will be a more community-oriented school with spirit that is definitely lacking. People often hate comparing SLC to other schools but I don’t necessarily think school spirit through athletics is a bad aspect of other colleges. We pride ourselves on being individuals, but we are so individualized that we don’t come together.”

There are many positives from athletic recruitment. First, it diversifies the population at SLC, which is a place that prides itself on being a unique safe space where anyone can belong. Athletics will improve and in the coming years teams will continue improving which will result in more money that could be pushed to other areas needing improvement at SLC. Hopefully, as continuing athletic talent enrolls at SLC, sports teams become more successful and inspire more school spirit. 

The one unfortunate thing about recruitment is where it leaves student athletes who were not recruited to SLC for sports. Quiana appreciates the commitment required in being an athlete that is often overlooked and seen as glamorous.

“Softball is something I love doing. I dedicated an entire semester to it and I think I’m okay at it. Looking at the team last year, I didn’t realize how much work being on the softball team would be. I didn’t realize how much energy and time it soaks up from you to be apart of a team. As teams eventually become all recruited athletes, I think it will be harder for non-recruits to participate. But softball is something I love doing. I would consider having a team that is intramural where anyone, male or female, can go play and have fun. Passionate students who are not recruits, I believe, will start forming small teams and clubs.”

Athletes make a strong effort on being a part of the SLC community. They frequent open mics, talks on identity, and school performances like midnight cabaret and the weekly improv night. Joining campus clubs can also help them form bonds with other students.

“I think the organizations that exist in SLAC are phenomenal and there are so many of them people don’t even know about. Getting involved in these organizations are places where athletes can interact with the community at large. It can help form friendships and bonds, which can create more enthusiasm for sports within the community. It’s very hard to get students excited about sports. Students will start supporting their friends and it will grow from there.”

Athletes, both recruits and non-recruits, are primarily students and should be seen in that respect. They have to do the same amount of work as everyone else while managing their time between practices and games. They deserve to be seen as true SLC students because that is exactly who they are.

by Matthew Zaretsky ‘17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Hannah Lawson: Making Waves at SLC

Lawson takes a breath while swimming the 200 medley at a meet photo by Tony Correa

Lawson takes a breath while swimming the 200 medley at a meet
photo by Tony Correa

She may have only been on the swim team for a less than a year, but Hannah Lawson (’18) is already making splashes in and out of the pool.

Swimming is a sport that seems to come naturally to the Portland, Oregon native. Lawson began swimming when she was quite young, her first experience was with a Summer Swim League at eight years old, and now she works as a swim instructor at SLC. Hannah is no ordinary swimmer; she’s also a record breaker. In her events, Freestyle and Breaststroke, Hannah has broken the 100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke and is a member of the record-breaking relays in the 200 Medley, 400 Medley, 200 Freestyle and 400 Freestyle.

One might think it might be hard to balance and excel at a collegiate sport while balancing classwork, but Hannah sees things differently. “No, it’s not very difficult at all [to balance everything],” she said. “It’s only 90 minutes a day and I think performing athletic activity is important for having a healthy lifestyle.

Hannah has led quite an interesting life pre-Sarah Lawrence. During high school, she spent a year studying abroad in India.  “I wanted to go somewhere completely different than the United States […] I went in with an open mind. It was weird at first with cows on the street and such.”

Although the culture shock did not affect her as much when she went, she said she felt it more when she came back and it is something she is still processing. Still, Hannah looks back on the trip with fondness and speaks of how she and her host family still speak on a regular basis. “They’re like my second family,” she said.

Whether speaking to her about India or swimming, her enthusiasm shows and her peers and mentors alike see it too during competition.

“Hannah […] loves to compete,” said Head Swimming Coach Eric Mitchell. “She knows how to set goals and once she has her sights on it she works until she achieves it. It’s always nice to see qualities like that in young people.

“She has a silent determination about her and works very hard, is competitive, and it pays off,” agreed team member Brenna Rice (’15), “but she is also very collected during meets.”

On January 30 and 31, the Sarah Lawrence Women’s Swim Team competed in the 2015 Skyline Women's Swimming Championship. “Women got Second [place] and it was our first time competing [at a Championship level]. We brought it in,” Lawson said of the event.  This was not the only accomplishment Hannah has achieved while competing at the Skyline Conferences. She has been named Rookie-of-the-Week five times and earned all-conference honors at the Championship.

Mitchell sees this as indicative of how Hannah has grown over the course of the season. “As a competitor, she has gained more confidence over the season. As a person she has really opened up,” he said. “At the beginning of the year she a bit more reserved as she was trying to acclimate to college life. Now she is more outgoing and talkative, at least to me. I think she has grown to trust me and believe in what she is doing.”

The Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association Championship marked the final swim meet of the year, which stretched over the course of four days and lasted six hours per day. Any non-swimmer would be tired just thinking about competing for 24 hours, but Hannah was excited for the event. 

“I think it’s going to go great,” she said. We’re competing in Rochester and it’s going to be a long and hard but, I think it will go well.”

“She has been working hard and preparing for this meet,” Coach Mitchell said. “I am excited to see how fast she will swim in a few weeks.

On the first day of the competition, Lawson competed with three other teammates, Gabby Risica (‘17), Colette Harley (‘17), and Jacqueline Quirk (‘17), to set a SLC 200 yard medley relay record. The foursome stopped the clock in 1:59.17 which challenged their previous record by a second. On the third day of Championships, Lawson broke the SLC 100 meter breastroke record when she clocked in at 1:08.82. But, Lawson wasn’t finished yet. The following day, she broke another SLC record with the 200 yard breaststroke. It is evident that Lawson is a serious and determined athlete that is committed and passionate about her sport. 

What started out as a fun activity for Hannah has become a regular part of her everyday life. Although the season is coming to a close, and the new one not set to begin until November, Hannah does not plan on taking a break anytime soon.

“Oh definitely,” she said, when asked if she plans to continue swimming. “I mean I don’t plan on going to the Olympics or anything, but I plan to swim for the rest of my life.”

By Mary Kekatos ’15

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Checking in with the Spring Season Gryphons

Jeff Jordan II.  Credit: Tony Correa

Jeff Jordan II. 
Credit: Tony Correa

Colette Harley '17   Credit: Jim O’Connor

Colette Harley '17
Credit: Jim O’Connor

Erin Chafatelli  Credit: Tony Correa

Erin Chafatelli 
Credit: Tony Correa

Athletes are amazing people. I think they are amazing because they are able to balance a full course load and participate in competitive and physically challenging sports. The Gryphons 2014-15 athletic season has, thus far, been successful and full of growth. It is hard to believe that it is already time to wrap up basketball and swimming and move on to softball and men’s volleyball. But, without further ado, I present recaps and previews of more impressive student-athletes who are breaking school records and raking in points left and right!

On Feb. 28, the Men’s Basketball team will finish their 2014-15 season. The young team won their first and only game against Pratt at Homecoming in November. The squad is noticeably young; it consists of nine first-year students. Head coach Chris Ehmer predicts that with more time the team will continue to grow and be competitive in every game. “I think we’ve come a long way, but we need to keep getting more polished,” Ehmer explained. Some highlights from this past season include a tight game against Maritime on Jan. 17, which ended in a very close loss of 62-65. In Skyline games against Martime and Mount Saint Vincent, rookie Keith Burns ('18) led the Gryphons with 29 points, which earned him Athlete of the Week. 

In three weeks, the swimmers of the Men’s and Women’s teams will ditch their bathing suits, goggles, and caps after three months of competing. The swim season will end with a four-day competition at the Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association Championships. Eric Mitchell, the coach of the Men’s and Women’s swim teams, remarked that this season was full of highlights including the recruitment of first-year student Hannah Lawson ('18) who set school records for the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. Mitchell added that the swimmers have “become a strong and closer team, which are all good things. We work on camaraderie and make sure we are cheering for each other. Swimming is a team sport at the NCAA level, but it’s really an individual sports so it’s easy to just get in and swim your laps and not worry about what the person next to you is doing. We make sure that everyone is aware to cheer on the person who’s still swimming behind them.” Six seniors, three men and three women, will graduate from the team this year.  

Although the softball season will not officially begin until March, second-year coach Chelsea Sheehan will train her young team for six weeks at Sarah Lawrence in preparation for their first game of the season. On March 11, they will kick off their season against Yeshiva, before traveling to Myrtle Beach for a week of training in warm South Carolina. Last year was Sheehan’s first season coaching at SLC and she notes that it was a “learning curve” for her and the team. The players and coaches have agreed that their season is not about winning or losing. Instead, the softball team looks to put in their full effort and energy during every practice and game.  The team has seven first-year students and three seniors. The Gryphons will host their first home game of the season on Mar. 29 against Mount Saint Vincent. 

SLC offers a wonderful diversity of activities to explore one's interests. The focus of the women's basketball club program is to offer students a previously-unavailable way to enrich and enhance their college experience. Women's Basketball is about learning and improving a set of skills, as well as overcoming the challenge of working as a team made up of individuals from all walks of life. The women’s basketball club team is actively seeking and welcoming new players. Mark Burger, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team, is the head coach of the women’s team. Burger writes that he is “happy with this season because one of the things that makes this year so special is our diversity. We have players who started with zero experience and others who have played on a competitive team before. It's been a blast seeing them figure out how to succeed in a team concept.” Burger goes on to write that his “primary goal is to offer our student body another means of personal growth and self expression. This one just happens to be called basketball. In that sense my goal for the participants is to learn to overcome boundaries and have fun doing so.”

By Sadie Rose Zavgren '17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

SAAC and Gryphons Gear-Up for Homecoming

The 2013-2014 Sarah Lawrence Basketball Team.  Photo courtesy Paul Blascovich via

The 2013-2014 Sarah Lawrence Basketball Team. Photo courtesy Paul Blascovich via

The annual Sarah Lawrence homecoming event will take place on Friday, Nov. 21 at the Campbell Sports Center from 7 - 10 p.m. There will be a variety of events including a men's and women's swim meet which will begin at 7 p.m., the men's basketball team's first home game of the season starting at 8 p.m., and a half-time performance by the SLC dance team. There will be a recognition ceremony for all senior student-athletes from the six fall teams: women's tennis, women's volleyball, women's and men's cross country and women's and men's soccer. Popcorn and cotton candy will be available for purchase as well as a tag sale featuring gently used Varsity sport equipment. All proceeds from the homecoming event will support the Students for Students Scholarship Fund (SSSF). Homecoming is organized by SLAC, SAAC and SSSF. SLC students, faculty members and staff are invited to gather as a community to cheer on Gryphon athletes as they compete and perform.
The SLC men's basketball team comprised of 16 players who hail from many locations around the United States as well as three international students from Canada,Greece, Turkey, and Serbia. This squad is young, considering nine of the players are first year students, and only one senior remains on the team. Head coach Chris Ehmer notes that fresh faces are exciting to have on a team because it creates more options for the future, but at the same time, “it will take a few games for us to generate some positive chemistry.” This season will be the basketball team's first in the Skyline Conference, which will demand a higher level of competition. Ehmer expects this basketball season to be bright with an “exciting future.” The basketball team appreciates the support from the SLC community and intends to share their hard work and talent at homecoming.
The men's and women's swim teams began practicing in late September and this homecoming will be the their fourth meet of the season. The women's swim team has five first-years students, in addition to the nine returning athletes. The men's swim team has two first-year students who will compete along with the seven returning athletes. This is the first year the men's team will compete in a conference.The women's team has already earned their first conference victory. On November 10, three swimmers, Hannah Lawson (‘18), Cameron Martinez (‘16), and Albert Riley (‘18) were honored by Skyline for their efforts in the last meet. The men's and women's swim team have a promising season ahead.
The SLC dance team was created last year by three students: Anjette Rostock (‘17_, Kayley Shimmin (‘17), and Monet A. Thibou (‘1&). This year, the SLC dance team has 19 dancers, nearly double the dancers from last year. According to Lindsey Guion (‘17), this year at homecoming, the SLC dance team will perform to a “Beyonce mash-up.” Last year, the troop performed at half-time for the first time. And as first year students, they were, according to Guion “very nervous.”
Guion adds that as first year students, “we didn't go to sporting events because it wasn't common, so going to this event, to support the Gryphons, was exciting.” 

This year, the team practices three times a week and they are excited to share their dance moves at homecoming. 

by Sadie Zavgren ‘17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

New Coach Scott Miller aims to get Men's Soccer to national championships

The newsest additon to the Gryphon team, Scott Miller, at Alfred Univeristy, wherer he worked before coming to SLC as head coach for the boys soccer team. Courtesy Paul Blascovich.

The newsest additon to the Gryphon team, Scott Miller, at Alfred Univeristy, wherer he worked before coming to SLC as head coach for the boys soccer team. Courtesy Paul Blascovich.

In high school there’s always that one athlete—the one who never misses practice, who is the last to leave the gym, and who shows up to every game even when he’s got a busted up shin. Scott Miller, the new head coach for the boys soccer team, was and is that athlete, and he understands that natural talent is no substitute for hard work. In a recent conversation Coach Miller gave some background on the himself, the team, and what he has planned for the future.

What was the main motivation for agreeing to be the head of SLC’s men’s soccer team?

Scott Miller: To be honest I saw it as a place that had an incredible amount of potential. Also it was very appealing to work with a very academically minded university, one where the player’s intellect would match their physical performance. 

Could you tell me the types of coaching positions you held before coming to SLC? 

SM: Aside from coaching various club teams, I also served as an assistant coach at George Mason University, and was head coach at Alfred University.

I understand you have a lot of personal experience with the sport aside from coaching. 

SM: I started playing when I was about five or six, and growing up I was consistently involved with the Pittsford Mustangs, a highly competitive club team up in Rochester, N.Y. I also played soccer at Alfred University, and had the chance to play some semi-pro after I graduated. Some of the teams I played with were the Rochester Rhinos, the Arizona Sahuaros, and the Vermont Voltage.

Did you have any reservations when you were considering taking the job? More specifically, where you are concerned about the school’s rather comical view towards the men’s soccer team’s reputation? 

SM: I welcomed that challenge. I had a vision of seeing the team prosper, and when a situation challenges you, the best thing to do is to have the courage to face it head on. I really thought of it as a great test for what both the team and I were capable of achieving!

What where your first impressions of the guys on the team? What did you think about the player’s personalities and as well as their ability to play? 

SM: I was immediately drawn to the guys. Pre-season showed me that the personalities were exactly what I had been looking for. A handful of them were really good leaders and there were a bunch of younger players to follow suit. I saw a big range of talent; some were definitely more experienced than others, but hey, that’s where coaching comes in.

What would you say the team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are?

SM: Greatest strengths are definitely personality and having the right mindset. The guys are willing to dig in and do what needs to be done to be successful. Also, they work together as one big cohesive unit. As for a weakness, I really would not even call it that– it’s more the fact that the team has a hard time seeing their own potential.

In your opinion, what makes you different from past coaches? What are you bringing to the table that coaches before you did not?

SM: An enormous part of it is teaching the kids to play in a system that works with their individual strengths. It’s my intention to give each player a specific role; that way, they know exactly what is expected of them. I will also be the first full time coach to use recruiting to help build the program. Mainly, I think it will be good for the team to have someone new who is looking forward to working and growing with them.

If you could have your pick when it came to recruiting for the team, where would you want to pull your players from?

SM: I would focus on the international kids who, for the most part, have had a lot of experience with the game. I would also pull a lot from New York City and surrounding areas. I think that by focusing on kids that are somewhat local it will help build a fanbase and create a family-type atmosphere at games and practices.

Now that the season has gone into full swing and you have had a chance to see the team in action, do you have any ideas about the types of changes you might want to implement for next season? 

SM: From now on, I want us to start as as team at the same time. I think by having everyone involved in pre-season it should help to keep the team on the same page. 

I know you just started, but where do you envision the team in five years?

SM: I’d like to see us in the national championships and seriously competing in some NCAA tournaments.

by Graeme Belzer '18


Women's Volleyball to raise breast cancer awareness in Dig Pink game

A Gryphon Volleyball on the Gryphon's home court. Photo courtesy Paul Blascovich.

A Gryphon Volleyball on the Gryphon's home court. Photo courtesy Paul Blascovich.

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 13, Sarah Lawrence’s Women’s Volleyball team will face off against the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the Campbell Sports Center. While the team has not faced USMMA in previous years, they are hoping for a victory to add to their current 19 to 13 overall record.

What makes this game so special is the Dig Pink theme. Dig Pink is a volleyball specific rally that supports the Side-Out Foundation. The foundation was founded by a volleyball coach and the son of a breast cancer survivor, who saw his mother’s struggle and used his team’s persistence and dedication to encourage his mother to put up the strongest fight she could. Now, volleyball teams across the nation—college, high school, middle school, varsity and club alike, and at local, county, city, and state levels—host Dig Pink games where teams fundraise to support breast cancer research. The Side-Out Foundation uses the revenue to allot cancer research grants, improve patient care, and support those battling breast cancer. Last year, the top five teams alone raised over $80,000. These games are hosted in October, national breast cancer awareness month.

SLC’s women’s volleyball team will be holding two bake sales to help raise money for the cause, one of which will be held during the game itself. Anyone that buys a pastry at one of these bake sales will be given a pink ribbon to wear to show support for the cause. According to sophomore volleyball team member Yolanda Cando ‘17, all ribbons given out were made with the help of Volleyball Coach Jillian Kalvik’s mother.

Cando said “I think we’re going to [win] if the spirit is there. We do pretty well when games go really quickly, and I do think we do really well when we have people at our games, cheering us on, just because it’s a different vibe.” Like any team, the girls of SLC Women’s Volleyball get amped up with a cheering crowd and support from their fellow students.

Coach Kalvik is very excited about the game, and had this to say on the Dig Pink match: “We are doing our dig pink game during October, which is widely known as breast cancer awareness month. Our goals are to promote women's health, bring awareness to the disease and raise a little money for research. I thought that this would be a good way to use our unique platform on campus to bring our team together for a common goal, that is much bigger than hitting volleyballs. I would love to see the student body at the match, wearing pink.”

The game is the night before Midnight Madness, another night of fun at the Sports Center where all athletics teams will be representing themselves with carnival-style games, and the kickoff to the men’s basketball team’s season. So drop by the sports center, wear pink, eat some baked goods, and enjoy SLC volleyball ladies spike down on the Merchant Marine Academy.

by Jacqueline Quirk '17


Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) opens year with positive meeting

Every other Tuesday, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee meets in the Campbell Sports Center conference room to discuss issues regarding athletics and to plan upcoming events. Required by the NCAA, SAAC’s purpose is to create an open dialogue among student athletes and athletic directors. 

Each team is required to have two SAAC representatives who attend the biweekly meetings and act as liaisons between the athletes of their respective sport and SAAC. In addition, SAAC is responsible for planning events such as Midnight Madness and has a hand in planning Homecoming. 

This year, SAAC is headed by Owen Marks ‘14, with Yolanda Cando ‘17 and Patrick Newsom ‘17 serving as vice president and treasurer, respectively. All three athletic directors, Kristin Maile, Chris Ehmer and Erin Pomykala, were in attendance, as well as the newest addition to the athletics department, men’s soccer coach Scott Miller.

SAAC members discussed several topics at this meeting. First, the group was broken down into four committees: Advertising and Public Relations, Community Connections, Events Committee and the “Morale Committee,” which is dedicated to inter-athlete relations. 

The group then discussed Midnight Madness, a yearly event where the Sports Center remains open late and each team hosts a small game with a theme related to their respective sport. It serves as a celebration of athletics as well as the beginning of basketball season. This event will take place on Oct. 14, 2014. 

SAAC meets during B Weeks on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. in the Campbell Sports Center.

by Colette Harley
Sports Editor


National Collegiate Athletic Association Grants Gryphons Accelerated Membership

photo © NCAA

photo © NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has announced that beginning September 1st, 2014, Sarah Lawrence College will enter their final trial year of membership for the 2014-2015 collegiate year. Instead of entering the NCAA two years from now, the college is expected to become a full member by the 2015-2016 season. What is traditionally a four-year process will now become a three-year process.  

The process of joining the NCAA began four years ago after completing an “exploratory year,” as an effort by the college and Athletics Department to attract student-athletes who were interested in Sarah Lawrence. Since then, Sarah Lawrence has added several sports, such as women’s soccer, and has increased the lengths of seasons and number of competitions. In the 2013-2014 school year, over 150 student athletes competed in 15 varsity programs.

In order to be granted this waiver, the college was required to produce compelling evidence of satisfactory progress. The athletics department was required to meet minimums on the number of student athletes who competed, as well as the number of competitions that were held each season. 12 varsity teams have recently transitioned from the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to the larger Skyline Conference for the 2014-2015 school year.

“[The NCAA] was really impressed with our application for this waiver,” said Director of Athletics and Physical Education Kristin Maile. “They said it was one of the most thorough they had seen.” Maile is confident Sarah Lawrence will remain on track for full membership by 2015.

By joining the NCAA, Sarah Lawrence would gain voting rights in NCAA legislature in addition to access to different grants, postgraduate scholarships funds, and guest speakers. Sarah Lawrence would also be eligible to compete in NCAA championships, allowing the Gryphons to compete past conference championships.

“It’s name brand recognition,” said Maile “It provides standards for us as a staff and facility, but it also guarantees that other schools are living up to the same standards. It’s sometimes helpful to think of joining NCAA as seeking ‘accreditation’ for our athletics program, similarly to the way many schools seek accreditation for academic programs or majors.”

The Sarah Lawrence Gryphons kick off the competition season on Sept 6, 2014

Photo taken from

by Colette Harley '17
Sports Editor



SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Cameron Martinez: The man, the myth, the mermaid

Photo by   Geneva Baldauf ‘15

Photo by Geneva Baldauf ‘15

The Campbell sports center is frequented by a single figure swimming back and forth in lane six, all the way to the right, with methodical strokes. Rarely seen without  black cap and black prescription goggles, this figure is Cameron Martinez (‘16)     

A native of Aledo, Texas, Martinez stands at six-foot-one, wears thin glasses, and has naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. In his time at Sarah Lawrence has broken 13 of the college’s men’s swimming records and was named Athlete of the Year by the Sarah Lawrence Athletics Department for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014. He has served as the men’s team captain during the 2013-2014 season and  holds eight individual records and five relay records.

In February, when the Gryphons travelled to Ithaca, New York for the Upper New York State Coaches Association (UNYSCSA) Championships, Martinez placed first in the 200-yard butterfly and 100-yard butterfly, and third  in 200 yard Individual Medley. He was named UNYSCSA Mark Randall Swimmer of the Meet and his times earned him NCAA Division 3 “B-cuts.”*

Photo by Geneva Baldauf '15

Photo by Geneva Baldauf '15

Martinez is relatively new to swimming, having gotten his start freshman year of high school. Initially a baseball player (and still a fan of the Texas Rangers), Martinez switched to swimming after an injury prevented him from making his high school baseball team.

“I decided to make swimming a priority,” Martinez said. “I swam freshman year, and the summer after freshman year I didn’t train.” It was the beginning of his junior year that Martinez began to get serious about swimming. “My senior year was when I started swimming well. But by that point, it was February and it was too late to get recruited anywhere.”

Martinez did not look at swimming at any other schools, undeterred by the fact he would be a big fish in a small pond.

“It’s nice, chill. I can do my thing,” he said, although he admits it gets frustrating when it is just him. “Back home, when we’re doing a set and a 15-year-old is beating me, it pushes me to try harder, where as here it’s harder to tell so I just go.”

Martinez is an integral part of the men’s swim team, often leading the team in group stretches and offering advice before races. After placing first in the 200 butterfly at UNYSCSA, he turned to his teammates cheering at the other end and made a heart symbol with his hands.

The highlight of last season for Martinez came during UNYSCSA. “Winning the 100 butterfly, and Dzana [co-captain Alexandra Ashworth, ‘14] crying after I won. I really didn’t expect to win the 100 butterfly, so that was really great.”

During the height of swim season, Martinez estimated he spent 15 hours a week in the pool and seven hours a week doing dryland, such as CrossFit. More specifically, he practiced twice a day four days a week and once a day two days a week, taking a break on Sundays.

When not in the pool, Martinez is a theater third and an aspiring filmmaker. He hopes to pursue filmmaking in various mediums such as television and feature films. “Even theater has sparked my interest, so plays and musicals are possibilities,” he said of future creative endeavors.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching and creating movies. His favorite food to order at the Pub is either the Ranch Hand Special or the soft tacos. In addition to swimming, Martinez also competes on the Sarah Lawrence Men’s Volleyball team.

Martinez attributes several people to his success, most notably his two coaches, Sarah Lawrence Swimming’s head coach, Eric Mitchell, and his coach from Texas, Andrew Ha.

“Without a coach, I wouldn’t go anywhere. Eric recruited me.” said Martinez. After a bad high school experience, he was wary to switch coaches, “but Eric knows what he’s doing,” he said.

“[Andrew] Ha is my club swim coach [Sigma Performance Swimming]. It’s nice to have him because [Andrew] and Eric have different styles and different perspectives. Andrew got me into swimming and taught me a lot about technique.”    

Although Cameron has swam most of the events in collegiate swimming, his favorite is the 200 butterfly.  “[The 200 fly] gives me time to get myself going. 100 Fly is too quick, whereas the 200 fly, I feel like I get something out of it.”

This summer, Cameron has been working at the Sports Center at Sarah Lawrence, as well as training with a local swim club, the Marlins. He recently competed in the 2014 Speedo Championship Series Long Course “Super Sectional,”where he placed 13th in the 100-meter butterfly and 21st in the 200-meter  butterfly.  

“Sectionals went fairly well. I dropped time in all my events; however, I did not go the ties I would have liked to go. Overall, I’d say my summer season was successful in preparing me for the school season,” said Martinez of the meet.

“I’m looking forward to having a faster team all around, and having this team be able to compete on an entirely new level that we’ve never done before,”

The men and women’s swim teams begin practice on Sept. 22, 2014 and have their first meet on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.

 *“B-cuts” refers to times specified by the NCAA that do not guarantee athlete's entry into NCAA Division # championships. Instead, these athletes may be extended an “invitation” to participate. Opposed to an A Cut, which guarantees a swimmer entry into NCAA Championships, B-Cuts tend to be slightly slower. Not everyone that obtains a B-Cut is invited.

by Colette Harley '17
Sports Editor