‘This team will never be forgotten’

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It doesn’t get much better than this, sports fans. At high noon on Friday, hundreds gathered to cheer the students and coaches of the 2011 Big Red men’s swimming and diving team for their first-ever NCAA National Championship.

The “Rally on the Quad” outside Slayter featured remarks by President Dale Knobel, Provost Brad Bateman, Head Coach Gregg Parini, and team captains Jake Lewing, a senior from Yardley, Pa., and Kyle Chabot, a senior from Washington, Mich.

The messages were all about “team.”

“Swimming, in some ways, is a solitary sport, but in other ways, it’s a team sport,” Knobel said, “and that’s what we saw on display this last weekend. Each individual not only sought to perform at the highest level, but they were convinced they weren’t going to let their teammates down.”

Parini’s pride was apparent. “The alumni and I challenged this group early on in the season,” he said, “and it became our team mantra: ‘Never be afraid of failure, but be absolutely terrified of being forgotten.’ This team will never be forgotten.”

Parini also credited the coaching staff: Jason Glorius, Matt Ense, Rachel Schlatter, Alexa Robinson-O’Neill, and Bill Mason ’57.

And here’s a bit of trivia: What does the team’s signature pose mean — the one where they’re standing tall with their fists meeting above their heads?

We hear it symbolizes an unbroken circle: a continuous bond between the swimming and diving alumni who built the program’s traditions and the current team members who will, in turn, support future generations of swimmers and divers.

To prove it, Chabot said, “This championship belongs to a lot of people. First, the alumni. We had constant visits from the alumni throughout the year, reminding us, over and over again, that we had the chance to do something special.”

And so they did.

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4:17 PM April 2, 2011

Tom Richner wrote:

How great to see a rally for the team on campus! Such an exciting accomplishment! Now, both the men’s and women’s teams know what its like to be team national champions. Congrats also to Gregg who has worked SO hard for this over his tenure at Denison. Many teams that swam under Gregg over the past 25 years have dreamed of what it would be like to win a team national title. These guys took that dream and made it their reality. This is a very impressive group of young men, a group that I bet will continue to achieve in the future. Having tackled this seemingly impossible task, they will take that experience with them the rest of their lives. Congrats you guys. MANY alumni share in your excitement! Let’s do it again in 2012!! WE ARE BIG RED!!!

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