The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugold swim team earns scholar all-american honors

UWEC men’s and women’s dive and swim teams earn national academic honors
Photo by Rossellin Gaitán
Fourth-year Sydney McGuine finds a balance between being on the swim and dive team and an environmental public health student.

Balancing school and extracurriculars can often seem like a challenging task. Still, UW-Eau Claire swim and dive seem to have found the secret recipe.

The Scholar All-American Honors is a student-athlete recognition program that selects teams of outstanding athletes who excel in their respective programs and sports. Regarding UW-Eau Claire swim and dive, there was an average of 3.56 GPA for the women’s team and 3.31 for the men’s team.

Head coach Annie Ryder said this was no small feat and is ingrained in the team’s culture. Ryder has been in her position for the last ten seasons.

“When it comes to our athletes, many of them are already on tight academic tracks like pre-med and STEM, so the act of working hard academically is just a culture within our team,” Ryder said. 

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She sees them working hard in and out of the pool. She knows that to succeed, you have to work on that balance.

“Our professors and university have incredibly supported our students in giving them the needed time.” Ryder said. 

Ryder said students have been putting in work in different ways and she sees how hard they work. 

“It’s a part of their personalities,” Ryder said. 

Ryder said it’s important to lean into the help that is there for athletes.

“Make time to go to your professors, go to office hours, ask for help with tutors,” Ryder said.

Ryder said for swimmers to do well in the pool, it was vital for them to be doing okay academically and, most importantly, mentally. 

“Odds are if someone is not doing well in school and life, they will do well in the pool,” Ryder said. “It is important to be doing okay as a person.”

As Ryder goes through her 10th season at UW-Eau Claire. The care and respect that Ryder has for her team is something that her swimmers noted about their coach. 

Fourth-year environmental public health student, Sydney McGuine values how her coach prioritizes athlete wellbeing. McGuine began swimming in high school and said it had added nothing but balance.

“When practice goes away, the structure is gone,” McGuine said.

At the beginning of her college career, McGuine said it was a learning curve. There were times when sleep was sacrificed and time management became essential. She said her busiest times for swimming somehow yielded her best GPAs. The trick for McGuine was knowing her boundaries.

“As I’ve gotten older, my time management has just gotten better and I know to prioritize sleep,” McGuine said.

McGuine added that planners, meal planning and overall better maintenance of her mind and body have helped her immensely.

“It can be a lot, but you get used to it,” McGuine said. “You kinda have to put school first. 

If not, you are not able to swim. It helps that many people on the team with the same mentality are helpful. If, after practice, someone is going to study or get coffee, it’s the people you surround yourself with every day. They are all so dedicated.”  

Gaitan can be reached at [email protected].

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