- Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 19:06
- Published on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 19:06
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ODAC honors Bridgewater standout Katie Schlemm
A pioneer at heart with a passion for competition
Her athletic career is a metaphor for excellence, yet her mark on the history of Bridgewater College swimming may be her greatest accomplishment. On March 31st, because of her consistent performances in competition, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference [ODAC] honored Katie Schlemm with the award of All-ODAC Honorable Mention. Schlemm’s teammate Morgan Cordle was awarded the Bonnie Ketner Sportmanship of the Year Award. Cordle is the fourth recipient of the award. Cordle and Schlemm are among the Eagles swim team’s tri-captains.
Nearly two and a half years ago, Schlemm and Cordle decided to express their desire to have a swim program added to the college’s athletic programs. Prior to the establishment of the swim program in 2007, the two seniors were also active in forming a women’s swim club, which provided a foundation for the sport of women’s swimming at Bridgewater. Soon, the Bridgewater administration opened the doors to the first swimming program in the college’s history. Although the team had to overcome the disadvantages of not having lane lines, over-heated 93-degree pool water and no swimming blocks during its initial stages, the program has forged ahead and become a formidable force in the ODAC. “We would often practice a session of swims, jump out of the water and run outside in the middle of winter to cool off, before jumping back in the water,” Schlemm said while reflecting on the early stages of the Eagles swim program.
Since her sophomore year, Schlemm has been nothing short of spectacular in the water. She has broken school records in the 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley.
After a strong performance at the ODAC/Atlantic States Championship, where Bridgewater finished fourth, no one will ever question the Eagles competitive spirit. After swimming eight times a day, while taking a daily dosing of verbal vitamins from her swim coach Fran Smith, Schlemm improved in every event by dropping a total of seconds in the 200 individual medley.
Schlemm has an interesting history of learning from one of the most successful coaches in Battlefield District High School history in the form of Ken Novell, to the present coach, Smith. Smith’s tireless work ethic would include swimming 5,000 meters for two hours a day. “Last year, I never realized that I could swim a 200 butterfly, but towards the end of the season, I could swim a 450 butterfly, which allowed me the endurance to swim the butterfly,” Schlemm said. “Fran pushed me beyond the level of extreme.”
Because of her tremendous contribution to the swim program, Smith awarded Schlemm the Coaches Award. “She was truly a leader, and helped make the team better every day—she was a very hard worker at practice and challenged herself every day,” Smith said.
Not only did she finish 12th overall in the butterfly [11th overall amongst ODAC swimmers], and 10th overall in the breaststroke [9th among ODAC swimmers], but also, she earned the right to compete in all of her finals. “My teammates call me the workhorse, and I was thrilled to go beyond the goals that I set for myself in the water,” Schlemm said.
Whether its biking, running or swimming, the graduating senior from King George has dedicated her life to the pursuit of good health through a consistent regimen of physical fitness. Inspired by her parents, and their allegiance to a health-oriented lifestyle, Schlemm is a living example that a sound body and a active mind will eventually translate into a promising career.
While at King George High School, Schlemm was a member of three District championship girls’ teams, while contributing as a standout cross-country runner. Schlemm also competed for one season on the Bridgewater cross-country team.
After receiving her degree in athletic training in May, Schlemm has accepted a job in Southern Maryland with a physical therapy clinic. The clinic will contract her along with several other athletic trainers to different high schools in LaPlata, Maryland.
In addition, the group will pioneer the first group of trainers to work in the Laplata school system.