by Meg Keim
Jackie Woods, a junior at MSUM, has been named the New South Intercollegiate Swim Conference Swimmer of the Week.
A captrain for the Dragons this season, Woods’s stroke of choice is the breaststroke.
She and co-captains Megan Sanford, Annika Bordak and Viviane Nagasaki said they help each other motivate the team.
The Dragon swim team participated in the Cows, Colleges and Contentment Classic in Northfield, Minn. on Saturday. The team captains took the swimmers to ValleySCARE in Shakopee this weekend after their meet as a bonding experience.
Supporting each other is very important in a sport like swimming.
“We work together and cheer each other on throughout the season,” said Woods.
Woods explained that because the swim team has the longest season of any sport that MSUM offers, they have to work extra hard to motivate the team. While enduring their long season, the swimmers get frustrated from long, hard practices, and these small bonding events give them something to look forward to.
At the meet this past weekend, Woods bested her competitors, winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.32 and taking fourth in the 200 breaststroke at 2:31.52. After learning on Tuesday that she was named the NSISC Swimmer of the Week, Woods said she was “so surprised and shocked” by the honor. She is the first MSUM swimmer this season to receive the honor.
Woods has been swimming since the age of six and said she still loves it as much as she did when she was young.
She swam throughout high school and was a captain during her four years there. She then went on to lead the Dragons with 22 wins her freshmen year and set the MSUM record for the breaststroke her sophomore year. Woods continues to grow as an athlete and a leader alongside her teammates.
Her favorite part of being in the sport is her teammates. She explained that “swimmers are a unique group,” and that they spend so much time together that they become a family, forming important relationships. Woods says she ultimately “gets to see the weirdest side of everybody,” which is a part she really enjoys.
Swimming has become an important tool for Woods over the years as she uses it to express herself and relieve stress.
Woods says that if she “walks into Nemzek in a bad mood, as soon as I walk onto the pool deck, the mood is gone.”
She stressed she “is very blessed” to have swimming in her life.
As Woods continues to shine this season, breaking records and winning events for her team, her studies also keep her busy. She uses swimming as a positive influence in her life and also as a basis for her career.
An exercise science and mass communications major, Woods’ dream is to open a health club and to promote fitness and growth.
Woods looks forward to the remainder of the season and her final years as a college athlete. The Dragons have a young swim team this year and Woods enjoys her role as a team captain.
She said she is headed in the right direction and will continue to move forward with her education and her athletic goals.