A busy schedule is routine for two members of the University of Richmond’s women’s swim and dive team who won conference honors this month, particularly as the team prepares to go to its conference championships this week.
Katherine Cook, a sophomore diver, was named Atlantic 10 Conference performer of the week, and Kelley Yang, a freshman swimmer, was named rookie of the week for the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. This was Yang’s second week in a row as rookie of the week, according to Richmond’s athletic department.
Swimming and diving takes up a significant part of Yang’s and Cook’s time, they said, and both athletes estimated that they spent between 15 and 20 hours each week practicing.
Balancing school and diving is familiar to Cook, a chemistry and music double major, and pre-medical student. “Being really busy is normal for me,” Cook said. Without diving filling up her days, she would likely procrastinate, she said. Yang, a possible studio art major, said that she preferred being occupied to being bored, and that if she didn’t swim, she would probably be a member of many clubs.
Both Cook and Yang were recruited to come to Richmond during high school, but each had different reasons for choosing to come here.
A former member of Yang’s club swim team who joined Richmond’s swim team, sophomore Meredith Gouger, encouraged Yang to check out the school, she said. She came here because of Richmond’s beautiful campus and good-quality facilities, she said.
Cook, a native of Chicago, wanted to go to a school where it was warmer, she said. And though she originally wanted to go to a large college, she said, she fell in love with the team and Richmond.
Head Coach Matt Barany is impressed by Yang having the fastest time in the Atlantic 10 in the 100-yard butterfly, he said. Yang is a strong contender for rookie of the year. A Richmond women’s swimmer has won rookie of the year every year since 2010, Barany said.
Cook started diving at a relatively late age, she said, but it had become a big part of her life since she began in eighth grade. In contrast, Yang started swimming competitively when she was about five years old, she said, and her parents preferred it to her possibly getting injured on land.
Cook’s honor was a testament to how hard she had worked, Erika Matheis, diving head coach, said. Outside of the pool, Cook is a renaissance woman, Matheis said, who was always ready to enjoy an adrenaline rush, such as climbing Mount Rainier or doing trapeze.
Yang lives by the philosophy of you only live once, Travis Stensby, assistant swim coach said. She is a well-rounded addition to the team with her skills in art and speaking Mandarin, he said. “You can always count on her to do something crazy,” Stensby said.
The women’s swim and dive team leaves Tuesday for the Atlantic 10 Conference championships in Geneva, Ohio. The competition lasts Tuesday through Saturday.
Contact reporter Ben Panko at email@example.com