Swimming Tries to Make the Most of the Spring


Fordham Swim and Dive is another team that has faced the challenges of COVID-19, both in scheduling and playing. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

In an academic and athletic year that continues to provide more questions than answers, the Fordham Swim and Dive schedule currently holds just one event: the annual A-10 Championship. Following the spike in COVID-19 cases at the Rose Hill campus, the university has halted all in-person events for the next two weeks — athletics included. Swimming, a sport already difficult to pull off during a pandemic, has many hurdles to overcome in order to have a successful season.

“We hope we have the A-10s,” said senior Vaula Vekkeli, who competes in the individual medley and freestyle events. “We are trying to have dual meets with other schools, but so many schools in the conference are shut down.”

Regardless of how many events the team participates in, they will look to build upon promising 2019-20 campaigns. The women in particular were nothing short of phenomenal, holding a 10-1 record in dual meets. Their only loss came to a non-conference opponent, Boston College, where they lost by a razor-thin margin, 150.5-149.5. Some other notable seniors for the team include Michelle Martin and Hannah McGee, both of whom set school and A-10 records last season.

The men also had their fair share of highlights, posting a 4-6 record in dual meets. They were at their best in the Bronx, capturing three of their four wins at Fordham’s own Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center. Some seniors on the men’s team that will help build upon their past season are Patrick Wilson, the transfer who broke school records in his first year at Fordham and was named team MVP all in 2020, and Bryce Bollesen, who has competed in the A-10s in all three of his previous seasons.

Of course, the team will not be able to have quite as expansive of a schedule as it did in year’s past. It is yet to be seen just how the logistics of hosting the A-10 Championship in Geneva, Ohio at the Spire Institute will exactly work. However, team spirits still remain high. 

So how does a team that is unable to meet in person stay in touch? The same way each and every one of us has been forced to transform our day-to-day lives. “We have Zoom meetings,” Vekkeli said. “We try and do that as often as possible.” As for more informal talks, the team has had to get creative in light of the pause of on-campus activities. “Especially now that we can’t see each other at practice everyday, I Facetime a lot of my teammates.” 

For now, the virtual meetings will have to do until the on-campus COVID surge subdues. When they return, the swim and dive team will look to bring the same level of competition they did last year; regardless of how many meets they’re able to participate in.