With emotions running high at the final home senior meet, the Georgia Southern University swimming and diving team went 2-1 over the weekend.
The Eagles defeated Gardner-Webb University 190-103 and the University of North Florida 195-96 on Saturday. Having competed against Gardner-Webb the night before and losing 200-186, the team was very pleased with how they came back and won twice Saturday.
“The team swam very well. We had a meet last night versus Gardner-Webb so I was very happy with how we bounced back today,” Nathan Kellogg, head coach of the swimming and diving team, said. “There were a lot of really good performances and we’re happy with where we are.”
There were many new pool records set at this meet, almost all by Eagle swimmers. Sophomore Christina Moran broke the pool records for the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke. Sophomore Emma Weisel also broke a pool record for the 3-meter dive and, along with senior Sara Meisenhelder, qualified for the NCAA Zones. Sophomore Giorgie Graves of GWU broke the 100-yard butterfly pool record.
“The seniors did well. This is always kind of a bittersweet meet,” Kellogg said. “We’re very happy for everything they have accomplished and what they mean to the program, but it’s also kind of sad because they are never going to swim back here in a meet again.”
The swimming and diving team has five seniors total: Kristen Bates, Meg Beasley, Sara Meisenhelder, Megan Ostrom and Devin White.
All of the seniors participated in the senior walk in their honor that took place on Saturday afternoon right before the meet began. Ostrom and Beasley share what they were thinking as their names were called for the senior walk.
“I was thinking of everything,” Ostrom said. “All the memories, all the good times, the bad times, the highs and lows. Everything was rushing through my head at the same time at that point. It was really overwhelming.”
“I was thinking that it was very surreal,” Beasley said. “I remember doing this my freshman year for our seniors and how much fun it was. There was that tint of sadness that it was our time to graduate.”
Sending the seniors on to their moment of glory were their fellow teammates who formed a tunnel with their arms for the seniors to run under and cheered in the process, showing the amazing support they have for each other.
“We always joke that we’re like a sorority, but it’s really true. We’re all super close and these are my best friends that I’m going to have 30 years down the road from now,” Beasley said. “It makes everything easier, we all share the burden and were all working toward the same goal.”
President Brooks Keel, diving coach David Giambra, assistant coach Ali Campbell, Kellogg and, finally, their parents met the seniors at the end of their walk. This meet was also a ‘GATA’ game, so many of GSU’s student athletes showed their support for the team by filling the stands and cheering them on.
“It was more exciting than sad,” Ostrom said. “There’s not a better place to end my swimming career than at Georgia Southern. It’s brought back my passion and love for the sport so I couldn’t have asked for a better team, and coaches and school to finish this off with.”
The Eagles will travel to Davidson, N.C. this Friday for a two-day invitational meet.