With all the hype surrounding NCAA Division I teams at the UofA, club sports teams are often forgotten. While many great athletes compete in club sports, some individuals join to simply stay in shape or have fun.
The club swimming team is a student-run organization affiliated with University Recreation at the UofA. The swimming club is a Division I team but competes against any university that has a club swimming team.
Members have four practices a week, which take place at the UREC Natatorium in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building.
The team practices Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday for approximately one hour. People who are more competitive may practice more often. The practice schedule is strenuous, but more than doable for students who have other academic or extracurricular commitments.
There are about 25 members on the team depending on the time period of the season. The practices and meets are coed.
Sophomore Peyton Richardson joined the club team early this fall. Richardson has not yet competed in team swim meets, but he hopes to soon compete against other schools alongside his teammates.
“I joined the club swim team to have motivation to exercise often, to network and to make new friends,” Richardson said.
The swim team is a tight-knit group of individuals, and they often watch football games together and engage in other out-of-the-pool activities, Richardson said.
His favorite and most refined stroke is the freestyle, Richardson said. Although he has never swum competitively, Richardson was a lifeguard in his hometown of Batesville.
Richardson and a few other teammates are more laid back, but other swimmers, such as junior Will Waidhofer, are more committed. Waidhofer was on the Division II swim team at Henderson State University before transferring to the UofA.
Waidhofer transferred because he was looking for a school with better academic standing, he said. After swimming for eight years and competing at a high level at a competitive college, it only made sense for him to continue his swimming career at the club level, he said.
“Swimming is a great sport,” Waidhofer said.
Like Richardson, Waidhofer said he thinks joining the club is a great way to form relationships.
Waidhofer was quick to mention that his teammates, Tanner Emerson, Shelby Franklin and Margaret Plank, are standouts on the team. Team members are close because they all “suffer in the pool together,” Waidhofer said.
The Razorbacks have competed in only one meet so far this year at the University of Texas-Dallas. The boys finished second, and the girls finished third. The Razorbacks finished second overall.
“The team swam with a whole lot of heart,” Waidhofer said, referring to the team’s performance at UT-Dallas.
The team is low on numbers compared to other schools, so a second-place finish at UT-Dallas was very satisfying, Waidhofer said.
The Razorbacks will wrap up their season in mid-April at Georgia Tech University for the Swimming and Diving Club National Championships.
The fee for practicing members on the team is $50, and the fee for competing members is $100. Students enrolled at the UofA who have swimming proficiency are welcome to join the club.