‘Sempre avanti’

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On Feb. 10, Maddie Armitage ’13 sent out a request for an influx of emails. She wanted to use hard copies of the messages as uplifting wallpaper in the Multipurpose Room of the Mitchell Center, which has been designated as the private team space for Denison’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams as they compete in the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships Wednesday through Saturday (Feb. 12-15). The Denison athletes gave up their own locker rooms in Mitchell so that visiting conference teams could use them.

The resulting onslaught of electronic notes, which came from the campus and Granville communities, and from alumni around the U.S. and the world, show support for the team members who suffered a great loss over the weekend with the news that good friend David Hallman ’14 had died of a tragic accident. Hallman was a former Denison swimmer, having been a team member as a first-year, sophomore, and junior. Many of the communiqués offer up memories and traditions from seasons past, and several include Denison’s swimming and diving adopted motto of “sempre avanti,” which, translated from Italian, means “always forward.”

At a campus memorial, held in a packed Swasey Chapel on Tuesday (Feb. 11) with overflow attendees watching via a remote simulcast in Slayter Auditorium, President Adam Weinberg spoke to the campus community about Hallman’s death before addressing specific groups most affected by the loss.

To the swimmers and divers he said, “This community has been inspired by you over the last few days. You have come together with grace and courage to grieve and to support each other. Swim your hearts out this week. When the weekend is over, know that you have given everything for yourself, your teammates, and your college.”

This is the first time in 15 years that the championship meet will be held on the campus of one of the conference’s member schools. Since 1998, the NCAC Championships have been held at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio, but this year, swimmers and divers from Kenyon, DePauw, and Wooster, as well as other schools in the 10-member conference, will step onto the blocks and boards of the Trumbull Aquatics Center.

Going into this year’s meet, Denison’s men’s and women’s squads have dominated the competition, and both own five-year streaks as NCAC Champions, holding the conference crown since 2009. To see how our the Big Red stack up in this year’s competition, or to watch a live stream of events throughout the week, visit DenisonBigRed.com.

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