The 2010-11 swim season may only be four matches in, but it’s already something team members will never forget.
The swim team participated in the fifth annual Ted Mullin “Leave it in the Pool” Hour of Power Relay for Pediatric Sarcoma research on Nov. 9.
The event derives its name from former Carleton College athlete Ted Mullin, who succumbed to synovial-cell sarcoma in September of 2006.
“It felt really good to swim for a cause,” said first-year swimmer Luke Meyers. “It was a lot of fun for all of us.”
One of Mullin’s final speeches to his teammates before he died was about “leaving everything in the pool,” and the event was named after that.
The relay is a one-hour intensive practice where swim team members participate in continuous relays, swimming as hard as they can. The event was held from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and took place in the Elting Gym pool. New Paltz was one of the 134 groups to participate in the event, with 89 being collegiate groups that come from Divisions I, II and III. The other groups came from club teams, high school teams and student-abroad teams. The relays are not only as a memorial to Mullin’s legacy, but also as a way to raise money for synovial-cell sarcoma research.
“The relay raises money for research towards finding a cure,” said Head Coach Scott Whitbeck. “This year, we made a donation of $245, which will amount to $2,450 due to each contribution being multiplied by
Whitbeck did not enlist New Paltz’s swim team just to raise money and awareness for sarcoma. He and assistant coaches Kevin Milkovich and Kristy O’Brien decided to sign New Paltz up for the event because they believed there was more to gain out of the event than just an intense workout. The coaches felt an experience such as this is eye-opening for the swimmers and something one could never forget.
“I actually have a friend who swam for Carleton, so it’s something that I find really important,” Whitbeck said.
Milkovich agreed with Whitbeck, believing the relay was important for the team.
“I think it is something that gives the team a lot of perspective,” said Milkovich. “It shows them that there is something bigger out there for them to realize. We also want them to think about and reflect on the people who pushed them and got them to the collegiate level of swimming that they’re involved in right now.”
Milkovich’s feelings were shared by the team members, who thought the relay was a great way to start off the season.
New Paltz was not the only SUNYAC school to participate in the event. Teams from SUNY Cortland, SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Oswego also swam in the relay. Georgetown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Babson, University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University also had participating teams.
The event attracted swimming groups from across the globe as well. Groups from Prague, New Delhi, Madrid, Seville and Copenhagen also participated in the event. Despite differences in time zones, everyone started and ended together, creating a unifying experience amongst all of the swimmers.
“We (Milkovich) even came out of retirement to participate in the event,” said Whitbeck. “But in the end, we just wanted to do something fun that was also for a really good cause.”