For the first time in eight years, Longwood University Swim Club made an appearance on the national stage after sophomore Jacob Auerbach and freshman Sam Farmer competed in the Club Swim Nationals at Ohio State University from March 30 to March 31.
Auerbach, who transferred to Longwood this academic year after swimming at Frostburg State University, qualified for the 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke and the 100-yard backstroke, setting personal records for all three events.
“It was a really cool seeing all these fast guys and girls, everyone did a great job," Auerbach said.
Farmer, who swam competitively in high school, qualified for the 50-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard breaststroke and set a personal record in the 50-yard event.
“It was kind of overwhelming, nerve-racking honestly. I almost missed one of my events," said Farmer.
Both Auerbach and Farmer said they enjoyed the meet in all aspects and said the experience was great but also said the event itself came with challenges that weren’t always in the pool.
According to Farmer, it was difficult getting used to a different pool and finding her rhythm while swimming, while Auerbach said it was tough for him to balance projects he received before the meet as well as the work due afterward.
After having her qualification taken away at North Carolina State in November due to misinformation from the timer, Farmer said she worked harder to earn every second she could by improving her stroke, which she eventually accomplished.
“I worked really hard with Jacob to figure out is it my turns: is it my starts, am I doing something wrong with my stroke?" Farmer said. "We found out it was my turns and I fixed my turns and dropped a second this weekend."
Auerbach was the first to qualify in September at a meet hosted by the University of Maryland, qualifying for the 50-yard butterfly, which he says left him surprised.
“I had a feeling that I was definitely going to qualify, it was just a question of what events and how soon," said Auerbach.
Swim Club President junior Morgan Douglas said the idea to become eligible for nationals came up the previous year and it was one of the things she thought would help the team grow.
“There was a list of goals that I had and taking the team to nationals was on the top of my list and everyone seemed to be on board with it," said Douglas.
Qualifying for nationals came with a few wholesale changes to the swim team this past season. Douglas said the team had morning practices to make sure everyone could come and didn’t have to miss due to classes or other obligations. Additionally, they would conduct dry land training.
According to Auerbach, a club sports athletic trainer has helped swimmers stay healthy and rehabilitate any injuries. He added that using the trainer was something he will take advantage of next season in his quest for more appearances at nationals.
Farmer, having just completed her first season, reflected on the experience in Ohio, saying she was more than satisfied with her performances.
“I think I did what I should’ve done and I’m proud of myself," she said.