September 16, 2019 | 65° F

Freshman adjusts to college, swimming in new country

Photo by Yee Zhsin Boon and Michael Boon |

Freshman swimmer Lindsay Gibson-Brokop swims the freestyle, which she won in the 200-yard race earlier this season against Wagner. Gibson-Brokop also swims the backstroke but excelled in freestyle events when she competed for the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club in her native Canada.

When Rutgers swimming and diving head coach Phil Spiniello first contacted freshman Lindsay Gibson-Brokop about joining his program, the swimmer admits she never heard of Rutgers until she looked it up on her computer.

“When I was going through the recruiting process, [the recruiting coordinator] helping me asked if I heard about this school in New Jersey and I said, ‘No,’” Gibson-Brokop said. “So I looked it up and talked to Phil and found out there is a lot of good stuff going on here. “

The reason Rutgers did not resonate with Gibson-Brokop is not because she is from a different state. It is because she is from a different country — Canada, to be precise.

Gibson-Brokop hails from Edmonton, which is in the province of Alberta and nearly 2,500 miles from New Jersey.

“The type of people here are different,” Gibson-Brokop said. “It is pretty multicultural here, and there are a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds.”

Being from a different country draws curiosities from fellow teammates and students, which Gibson-Brokop said sparks an interest in everyone who asks her about her origin.

“It’s interesting,” Gibson-Brokop said. “Whenever I meet someone new and they ask where I’m from, I respond, ‘Canada,’ and they are immediately interested.”

Before arriving on the Banks, Gibson-Brokop enjoyed success in the pool as a member of the Edmonton Keyano swim club and swam competitively for more than 10 years before calling New Brunswick her new home.

From the moment Spiniello got a chance to talk with the young swimmer, the second-year coach knew Gibson-Brokop had the makings to compete and flourish as a member of the team.

“As we talked back and forth, I could tell that she had Scarlet Knight material written all over her,” Spiniello said. “She has made strides from the first day she has stepped on campus, and she comes in wanting to get better every day. I’m looking forward to her future here at Rutgers.”

Gibson-Brokop transitioned well in her first year as a Knight.

When the team took on Wagner earlier this year, the rookie captured first in the 200-yard backstroke and helped Rutgers win the dual meet against the Seagulls.

The success the team experiences makes the Canadian proud of what it accomplishes and reassures her about her choice of joining Spiniello’s program.

“Coach Phil was really excited about the program when he recruited me, which made me really excited about it,” Gibson-Brokop said. “I didn’t know where we would be and I knew we had some rivalries, so it was nice to come out on top of those. I’m really excited about our start.”

While a transition from a different country is difficult for anyone, Spiniello is happy Gibson-Brokop’s adjustment has been smooth for her.

“There haven’t been any problems [with the transition],” Spiniello said. “She has been taking care of business day-in and day-out both in the classroom and in the pool. She brings a lot to the program.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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