Why Your Team Is Your Sorority: Pledge Swimma Cappa Goggle

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Photo Courtesy: Twitter, @USASwimming.

By Claire Russell, A Swimming World College Intern.

As an athlete, we have all had to make sacrifices. We have missed a high school dance for a swim meet and watched our friends eat pizza during taper. And yet we all somehow kept choosing the athlete lifestyle, and it all definitely seemed worth it. So it’s no surprise that many of us made the conscious decision to push even harder and sacrifice even more for the opportunity to swim in college. We chose the life of a driven student-athlete. We chose to join an amazing team rather than a sorority and never looked back.

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Olivia Smoliga hugging her fellow Georgia Bulldog teammate. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

But then there is that one quick moment freshman year that we second-guess the decision. We see sorority rush pictures on Instagram and the vibrant Greek lettered shirts rocked all over campus. We start to consider that just maybe the grass is greener on the other side. Have we been working really hard and sacrificing for nothing? Are we missing out? Should we have joined a sorority? However, somewhere along the line that fall of freshman year, we pleasantly come to an important realization. 

Our team is our sorority. We are the members of Swimma Cappa Goggle.

There are chapters all over the country. We have our Swimma Cappa Goggle sororities and fraternities with “bigs” and “littles”, secret traditions, theme parties and diligent charity work. Most of all, we understand the three subjects that sorority sisters seem to talk about the most: instant best friends, being a part of something greater than ourselves, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Greek Life vs. Team Life

The Instant Best Friends

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Leah Smith, Mallory Comerford, and Melanie Margalis share a laugh behind the blocks. Photo Courtesy: Twitter, @USASwimming

Probably the hardest part about going off to college is leaving all your lifelong friends. And many people believe that joining a sorority is the perfect solution for this dilemma. It’s a great way to meet new girls and make the same close friendships on campus right away. A sorority will welcome each newbie with open arms and teach them the ropes of Greek life.

But doesn’t our sports team foster that same close knit friendship by nature? Thanks to our early morning practices, we start our time together even earlier! A sports team will open their arms just as wide – or even wider with their broad shoulders – and teach us the ropes of being a student athlete. 

Teammates welcome each member to the fold on the very first day with dining hall favorites and the best route to practice. That bond will quickly grow as they get through their very first hard set together. As the team travels to meets, their bus sing-alongs, post-meet victory parties, and study room giggles will develop into fun memories that will be talked about for years to come. Over time, training every single day with the same group of people creates an everlasting family bond that will be never be broken.

Being Part of Something Bigger

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The University of South Dakota Swim Team huddle before a meet. Photo Courtesy: Aaron C Packard University of South Dakota Athletics

Another theme that we hear is beneficial about sorority involvement is not feeling “lost” on campus as a new student. Athletics provide the same sense of belonging and kinship. Sororities and sports teams help with easing that lonely feeling by giving every new member a warm family-like welcome.

Similar to sororities, swim teams have their older and younger sisters too. The upperclassmen help guide their underclassmen to follow in their footsteps. Every swimmer has that one teammate who they look up to at practice. That one older swimmer who tips us off on which place has the best chocolate milk or the exact teachers to steer away from when picking classes. The big sisters drive us to the doctor when we are sick – not just because our performance depends on it, but because they care. 

Team members are proud to wear shirts with the school logo and mascot because they understand that are not just simply supporting the team. They feel honored to truly to be a part of that team.

Memories That Will Last a Lifetime

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The University of Virginia Swim and Dive Class of 2019 on graduation day. Photo Courtesy: Twitter, @UVASwimDive

Deep down inside, we all hope to be that one parent saying, “I remember when I was in college…” because that will mean that we had lots of fun memories to share with for future generations. No one needs to join a sorority in order to have the true college experience. Athletes never seem to have a problem creating fond memories to last a lifetime. 

Athletes still have the opportunity to binge-eat pizza late at night with their roommates or even do a spontaneous road trip. After living in the same designated “sport” house with their teammates, traveling in buses to a neighboring state to compete, and flying to another country to train with the same people for four years with will ensure that many memorable events have occurred along the way.

A Real Life Example 

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Bryant teammates cheering on their teammate till the end of the race. Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @Elizabrant

As tough as it is to juggle the time commitment of being in either a sorority or NCAA DI sport, Eliza Brant can confirm that both Greek life and a sports team share similar qualities. Brant is a member of both the DI women’s swim team and Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority at Bryant University. When Swimming World asked about the similarities of each organization, she gladly obliged.

Both groups are a close knit group of girls who genuinely care about each other. It’s a family. To be completely honest, the only major difference between the two is the amount of working out we do. The swim team is more performance based improvement, and my sorority is more dedicated to improving the community. I love both my families on my team and in my sorority.”- Eliza Brant

Brant is also an example that it is possible to be involved both athletics and Greek life if you have excellent time management skills and your coach’s approval. However, if you choose to only be a part of one or the other, she confirms that you should not experience  “FOMO” (fear of missing out).

No Need for FOMO

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

In a generation that spends our time scrolling through our feeds and flipping through stories, it’s easy to feel like we are missing out on something. FOMO is real, especially for athletes with little time to spend outside of training and prepping. But in reality, being a part of a tight knit team is very similar to Greek life. You have your older siblings, the social scene, and the ability to make fun memories worth sharing. You have a second family. There really is no need to feel like the grass is greener on the side. Now we are left with this final question.

Are you ready to rush Swimma Cappa Goggle?

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Photo collage of memories with swim “sorority” Swimma Cappa Goggle. Photo Courtesy: Claire Russell

-Commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

13 comments

  1. avatar
    Mary Lynn

    LOL! Swimma Cappa Goggle! I love it! Sisters forever!!

  2. avatar
    Al Haake

    Great Article!! As a dad of a Freshman swimmer, this is soooo true!!

  3. Maya Kaplan

    Emily Ross bro swimma cappa goggle

  4. Bess Swanson

    my college daughters jokingly called it
    Suita Capps Goggle. 😅

  5. Ann Erwin

    Maggie Erwin

  6. Brandy Stiles

    Necole Dominguez swims Cappa goggles!! 😂 #swamily

    • Necole Dominguez

      Brandy Stiles we should have sorority shirts made for swim meets 😂

  7. Amanda Braun Thorne

    Kfay Bohm Sarah Lewis Thompson I felt like my long distance swimmer friends were my sisters.

  8. Kfay Bohm

    Feel 💯 the same I am in Tampa and thinking of fort Myers trips

  9. avatar
    Karen

    Love Swimma Capps Goggles…and can really feel your personality come through in your writing…great job!!

  10. Pam Kirsch Magnan

    Tracy Rodino Keblish Michelle Pal Sharon Baldwin

  11. avatar
    Katie

    I definitely see the similarities as you pointed out. Great read!!