Men’s Swimming uses team tradition to bond before METs Championship

Kevin Yanagisawa swims freestyle in an event against USMMA. The Profs lost the meet 146-154. Saturday, Feb 1, 2020. Multimedia Editor / Dyone Payne.

More likely than not, when people think of swimming, they think of it as an individual sport. Unless it is a relay, it is usually just one person swimming for the best time to win the race, so it is understandable to see why some people think of it like that.

 That is not how the Rowan Men’s Swimming team sees it through, especially going into one of their biggest meets of the season. 

Starting on Friday Feb. 21, the team will be competing at the Metropolitan Championship throughout the weekend at Rutgers-University in New Brunswick. 

It is a meet that sophomore Kevin Yanagisawa has competed in once before and knows more about, including how important his team will be to the success he is hoping to have. 

“I know to accept more. I know what the meet is going to be like,” Yanagisawa said. “I know the collegiate scene and how’s it’s different from USA Swimming and high school and I now know people on my team better, because I have built better bonds over the past basically two years, so I know that when I get there they will have my back the whole time and we are all going to swim together and the only way for us to win is to swim as a team.”

Yanagisawa also mentioned how it isn’t always like this in swimming though, and how here at college it is different from what he has experienced swimming on other teams. 

“It’s definitely a lot closer-knit doing collegiate swimming,” Yanagisawa said. “Just because so many hours of the day you’re with your team and your with these people and you are basically living with them every single day, in and out, throughout since September to now. So it has been a long time with your team where with high school you are not with them as much and USA Swimming, it’s almost more of you know your team is there but it is more of you have to push yourself, you have to work to get faster, where here in collegiate you have your team behind you.”

In fact, the team is so tight-knit, they have a special tradition before this meet every year that helps bond the team together, which is dying their hair blond. 

“It is just a thing we do every single year, it’s a tradition,” Yanagisawa said. “Right before our last meet of the season, it sort of like a bonding thing for all of us, to get together and do something crazy and bleach our hair.”

Head Coach Brad Bowser says that this is actually something the team has been doing for quite some time now. 

“They have been doing that since I got here, even before I got here,” Bowser said. “So it has been something that has been passed on throughout the years, for something like that, it definitely brings them together and it is something that they like to do together, it is something to do, where that camaraderie comes out.”

Bowser, like Yanagisawa also knows how important it is for the whole team to be ready and working together as one, even more so that METs are only days away. 

“I think the confidence is there, I think we’re starting to definitely feel more rested and their heads are held high,” Bowser said. “Our leaders and everybody is getting the team up and ready to go.”

The METs Championship will be the last team meet of the season, so they are going in hoping to finish off the season strong.

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