Fostered in pool from early age, Bryan provides experience for Orange

first_img Published on December 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+ There was never much of a choice for Chelsea Bryan. Not that it was a bad thing. With two parents who were swim and dive coaches at Georgetown, Bryan was part of the swimming culture at a young age. Aside from introducing her to the water, though, her father Jeffrey Bryan was never too involved in her swimming. ‘My biggest and most effective influence was just staying out of the way,’ Jeffrey said. ‘I’ve coached Chelsea on the soccer field and basketball courts and organized and managed swim programs and meets that she’s participated with and coached on, but I have never directly coached her as a swimmer.’ Now a junior at Syracuse, Chelsea never expected to swim in college. Though she has been a swimmer her entire life, it wasn’t until she arrived at SU her freshman year that she decided to pursue swimming at the collegiate level. Swimming in college was ultimately all Chelsea’s undertaking, part of what lets Jeffrey deal with his daughter swimming at a rival school under a rival coach in Syracuse’s Lou Walker. ‘Having her go to Syracuse was the bigger jolt to my system,’ Jeffrey said. ‘When Chelsea said she talked to Lou about joining the team, I was thrilled. I’ve known Lou for over 30 years, and knowing that she would be under the Walker’s direction for her collegiate swimming experience was just a real kick for her mother and me.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Chelsea’s extensive swimming background is part of what makes her such a key contributor to the team. Her experience gives her a unique perspective and level of energy. Swimming, by its very nature, creates a sense of camaraderie and a level of energy that is tough to parallel. Walker said Bryan brings this energy. ‘She’s got a lot of positive energy,’ Walker said. ‘In a swimming environment, that’s a really positive thing. Swimming, by its nature, can be kind of a grind. Her enthusiasm is really positive to have around.’ This energy isn’t something that just comes naturally — living in a swimming culture is what fosters it. There are few areas in the country that emphasize this swimming culture to the extent that Maryland does. Bethesda, Md., Bryan’s hometown, is one of the many cities in the state with extensive summer swimming leagues that include meets between swim clubs in the area. Bethesda’s Montgomery County Swim League allows a greater entry into the sport and gives swimmers the chance to hone their skills in the pool. But it is what happens out of the pool that sets these leagues apart. At many of these pools, everyone knows everyone. And the sense of community and camaraderie that is now associated with the swimming culture is fostered. ‘Summer swimming was always a big part of my life,’ Bryan said. ‘I swam (at my pool) for 15 years and coached there for seven.’ With the SU swimming and diving program in its final year, Walker cannot use traditional motivational techniques to affect the team, making Bryan’s presence all the more helpful. ‘I think it’s easier (to motivate myself) because I know that coming up is my last race ever,’ Bryan said. As for next year, Bryan plans to just enjoy her senior year and potentially try to join the club lacrosse team. She was a four-year varsity lacrosse player in high school, in addition to being a swimmer. ‘I came on to the team knowing it was going to be cancelled, so I’ve always had a realistic approach,’ Bryan said. ‘To me it was never like, ‘I’m going to be swimming in college.’ It was kind of a last-minute decision.’ But for now, she is just worried about the rest of the season and her last race ever. One that will come later this season. One that will be the end of a competitive swimming career and the end of the swimming culture that has been such a huge component of her life. ‘It’s going to be hard,’ Bryan said. ‘I’m pretty sure it’ll be my best one ever. When I get emotionally invested in something, I can’t be stopped. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good last one.’ [email protected]center_img Commentslast_img

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