For members of Wittenberg University’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, one practice each November stands out from the seemingly endless string of workout sessions associated with the sport. It is a day to build camaraderie through an hour-long competition against teammates, and it is a day to reflect on a cause bigger than any opponent the Tigers face each year.
During the team’s annual Hour of Power Relay, the Tigers join hundreds of other college, high school and club teams across the country to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. The team’s Nov. 13 practice marked the sixth straight year that Wittenberg participated in the event, which was started in 2005 at Carleton College after Ted Mullin, a member of the men’s swimming and diving team, died of a rare soft-tissue cancer called sarcoma.
All money raised each year goes to the Ted Mullin Fund for Pediatric Sarcoma Research at the University of Chicago. The amount of good will and team unity cannot be measured, however, evidence that service to others offers the greatest rewards.
“This event is very meaningful to each team member in different ways,” said Jane Tsivitse, class of 2013 from Wyoming, Ohio, who organized the 2012 Wittenberg Hour of Power Relay with Ward McNulty, class of 2013 from Glencoe, Ill. “It’s great that we can come together for an opportunity like this. It’s easy to lose sight of what is really important. This provides us with a much-needed sense of perspective.”
In 2010, Bob Rafferty ’02 and Ross Ballinger ’06 compiled an Hour of Power Relay video, featuring the Tiger swimming and diving teams.
Perspective is sometimes difficult to find in the world of college athletics. Through the innovative Tiger GAME Plan initiative, Wittenberg student-athletes have numerous such opportunities, through community engagement and activism, global awareness and an emphasis on academic and athletic achievement.
The Hour of Power Relay consists of a sprint relay in which team members take turns swimming 50-yard lengths of each different stroke. The team is divided into six lanes of eight to nine team members each, mixing the men’s and women’s teams together and including the members who compete only as divers during meets.
Prior to diving into the pool, team members huddled to reflect upon their experience, with several mentioning personal connections to cancer, including family losses and survivor stories as well. It provides an important time for team members to come together and reflect.
For more information about the Hour of Power Relay and the Ted Mullin Fund for Pediatric Sarcoma Research, visit Carleton’s website at: http://go.carleton.edu/HourOfPower. To make a contribution to Wittenberg’s Hour of Power fundraiser, contact Head Coach Natalie Koukis at (937) 327-6446 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the 2012-13 Wittenberg swimming and diving teams took time out from a recent practice to pledge their commitment to ending sexual violence.
Recently, team members took time out from their training to adopt a different cause, taking a pledge not to “condone or remain silent about sexual violence.” Team members made a video showing their vow to confront this important issue, which studies indicate is a significant problem on college campuses across the country.
The team members’ initiative to not only support the cause of combating sexual violence but taking a public stand against it speaks volumes about Wittenberg’s mission to develop the whole mind, body and spirit.
The Tiger men’s swimming and diving team has posted a 5-2 dual meet record through the first half of the 2012-13 season, capped by a strong third-place finish in the annual DePauw Invitational Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The Tiger women check in at 6-1 in duals at the midway point of the campaign. The opening half of the season was punctuated by a thrilling first-place finish in the DePauw Invitational as the Tigers edged the host team by one point. Follow the Tigers all season long via http://www.wittenbergtigers.com.
Story By: Ryan Maurer
Photos By: Erin Pence