Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Wittenberg Tiger Swimming in Japan!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Mr. Nagai, Neil and Mrs. Tamura

Swimming in Japan

Below is an email from a former Tiger Swimmer, Neil Anderson.

Thanks Neil!

Keep swimming!


Hey Coach,

Looks like you had an exciting weekend! I am so happy to see the team doing so well. I really do miss it. So much that I am getting back to it over here!

I was actually swimming quite a bit at the beginning of the year preparing for a meet in March that had swimmers coming from the entire Tohoku (eastern Japan) area, but with the March 11 earthquake/tsunami occurring, the competition site was heavily damaged among many other terrible things. The pool I normally train at was also undergoing repairs until just recently in September they reopened. Needless to say, I haven’t been in the water much since March. It has been a difficult time for all swimmers here in eastern Japan, especially since the sport brings so much joy in so many ways. Thankfully though, pools are reopening and competitions are starting up again!

This past weekend, I went to the Tohoku Masters Swimming competition in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. The trip is about an hour from my home in western Miyagi. Around 300 athletes with ages ranging from 18-80(older?) came to compete from all over Eastern Japan. I was entered in the 100 fly and 50 free in the 20-24 age group. I was really counting on natural talent at this point since I had only had the chance to get in the water a total of 2 times the week prior. Halloween is a busy busy time for English teachers here OK? Somehow, things turned out ok. Taking first in the 100 fly and (laughably) the 50 free felt good. It’s a feeling I have really missed, and it wasn’t just from winning either. It was the whole package. The smell, the smiles, the echoes, the laughs, and the constant stares at the (only) foreigner brought it all back. Maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. It’s the same no matter what country you’re in. I’m not hoping for “retired” swimmers to read this, go to the pool and swim 10,000 meters. That message is in no way conveyed from my previous “practice” endeavors. I do hope that if need arises for a smile, or a feel good moment that you can share with hundreds of people, find a masters meet.

Best of luck the rest of this season Coach!

Neil Anderson

Result Sheet

Swimming Alumnus Earns Fulbright Award

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Blake Troxel '05

It was December 2007 and I was sitting in a restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming talking to Blake Troxel ’05. We were both spending the week there skiing with family. These were the early days of Facebook (before it chronicled our every step), so I’m not totally sure how we knew we were both going to be there at the same time. I hadn’t seen Blake in two years because he had been working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. There was the occasional update from Blake during his time in the remote South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, but this was the first time we had the chance to meet up.

After hearing about his life-changing experiences during the course of the last two years, I asked Blake what he was going to do when his time ended in the Corps. and his response was, “go back for another year.” This came as no surprise to me. If there is one word I think of when I hear the name Blake Troxel it’s “commitment”. From Blake’s swimming years I remember him being one of the hardest working guys in the pool. He was committed to being the best that he could and to making the team the best it could be. Blake led the team not only in the pool, but also in the classroom. He is the type of student-athlete that I tell stories about to recruits when they come for their campus visit.

When I got a call this summer from a colleague telling me that the University had received word that Blake was awarded a Fulbright scholarship, I was elated. Blake is pursuing a masters degree in Environmental Science at Yale and this scholarship provides him the opportunity to return to Vanuatu to assist its department of forestry with local ecological conservation and resource management. While I haven’t had the chance to talk to Blake, I can only imagine how excited he must be to return to a place that I know he loves, with people he considers to be his family, and pursue an opportunity to make a lasting impact on their environment.

We wish Blake the best of luck in his pursuits! Read the official University news release….

Story By: Bob Rafferty ’02