Rutgers seniors hope to leave legacy behind
It is a hard pill to swallow for most students when they have to leave college and go get a job in the real world. It is an even harder pill for student athletes to swallow when they leave the sport that they love, as well as the relationships that they have formed.
“It will be incredibly difficult because these are the people I am closest too and the ones that I see every single day,” said senior Lindsay Gibson-Brokop. “It’s going to be challenging to move on, but having all those experiences and having to deal with everyone will be helpful when I have to step into the real world.”
This past weekend, the Rutgers swimming and diving team honored its four seniors. The quartet comprised head coach Phil Spiniello’s first recruiting class: Gibson-Brokop, Brogan Lee, Greta Leberfinger and Caroline Carlisle.
Their teammates cheered “LKP,” the acronym for “Lady Knights Pride,” as they received their flowers and took their photos with their family members.
That’s when it hit home for the seniors that their time was coming to a close, but it is something they are not trying to focus on.
“[Our leave is] something that we’ve gotten closer and closer to,” Gibson-Brokop said. “So I try to do my best in practice, and it is definitely a motivating factor but it can also be distraction. I try to ignore it because you don’t want your emotions to run to high come conference [championships].”
Seniors experience the program for four years but while a part of the program, they learn the ins and outs of what is expected and eventually they are called upon to direct the underclassmen and mold them into the program.
“They’re the leadership of the team,” Spiniello said would be missed most. “They’ve grown into great leaders over the years. They embody what our program is all about and the work ethic they bring day in and day out will be missed.”
Carlisle emphasized the changing of the guard as being a positive and said the program will be in great hands going forward due to what they have been able to accomplish.
“We started a trend of being able to motivate yourself and being reliant on your team members,” Gibson-Brokop said. “The underclassmen have really followed that. When the juniors step up, I think all those things will remain the same and be even better.”
It has yet to sink in for them, but their collegiate career is coming to a close.
They do, however, hope to leave a lasting impact on the underclassmen.
As the two captains of the team, Leberfinger and Lee now have to pass the torch to the next two girls and move on, but it won’t be easy for the next two captains to step up.
“I think Brogan and Greta have done a tremendous job this season and have modeled what it’s like to be a captain for this program,” Spiniello said.
For most on the team, after the Big Ten Championships meet, their season will be over unless they make it to the NCAA Zonal championships.
At that point for the seniors, the season will be over and they will eventually realize that their career is over when they don’t get back into the normal rhythm of spring practices and receiving emails from Spiniello.
“It’s going to be hard,” Carlisle said. “Especially not being with the girls. I know that I’ll still hangout with them for the rest of this semester and I’ll come back to see them when I’m not at Rutgers, but it will take some time.”
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