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Mills swim team redefines personal success

Mills College Weekly

This fall, the Mills swim team is working with nine new swimmers
and two returning swimmers, as they challenge themselves by
defining success on their own terms and building the strength of
the team by improving the skills of each individual member.

Now in their fifth week of training, head coach Neil Virtue
feels that one of the new challenges of the year is to deal with
the different dynamics that come along with new additions to the

“What I would ultimately like for the team and myself is to
liberate ourselves from the societal standards of success and
redefine it according to what we truly believe is success,” said
Virtue. “Anyone can go out there and simply win a medal, but I feel
that it is when you keep challenging yourself that you truly

When it came to new challenges and expectations for the year,
new swim team member Alexi Veltzen, a freshwoman, felt that besides
striving for a good year ahead, another important goal would be to
build strong bonds with the other team members.

“Even though swimming is considered an individual sport,
everybody still counts and the team spirit so far is great,” said

“A big goal for me this year would definitely be to get to know
other people better,” she added.

The Mills swim team trains five days a week. Each training
consists of starting off with light stretching, followed by an
abdominal workout. After that, the team members take part in
technique drills for 20 to 30 minutes. Training specificity is the
main set after the drills, where individuals work out specific
muscles according to specific events that they will be taking part

“The training is varied depending on the athlete. [The coaches]
are very helpful in designing workouts that work for the most
beginning to the most advanced swimmers,” said returning swimmer
Naomi Frigo, a junior.

Virtue said that what makes swimming such a unique sport is that
it is the only sport where one truly has to concentrate on her own
breathing, and that it is the “closest sensation that one will ever
come to flying.”

“Our motto for the year is ‘veni natavi vici.’ I’m very excited
for it. If you want to know what that means, you’ll have to join
the swim team,” said Virtue with a big smile.

The first meet for the Mills swim team will be an intersquad
time trial meet on Oct. 17 at 4:00 p.m. at Mills. The first
official meet will take place at C.S.U. Hayward later this month on
Oct. 25.

If anyone is interested in joining the swim team, contact Neil
Virtue at