Stronger Together

Jan. 2, 2019
Erin Casey
Assumption College Women's Swim Team
The Assumption College Women's Swimming and Diving team at Swim Across America's event at Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett, R.I.

The Women's Swimming and Diving team consistently places at the top of the Northeast-10 rankings, winning three conference championships from 2014–16 and placing second in 2017 and 2018, but the team’s winning ways are not confined to the pool. The Greyhounds regularly partake in community service, in line with Assumption’s commitment to service and social justice that benefits the greater good, the team, and the athletes themselves.

“Student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and staff at Assumption all feel community service is part of who we are as an institution and as a department,” said Stuart Cromarty, Ph.D., professor of biology and head Women’s Swimming and Diving coach. “Giving back is fundamentally the way in which we teach our student-athletes that service is something that should be done throughout a lifetime.”

For the past six years, the team has participated in Swim Across America’s event at Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett, R.I. The team raises funds to benefit cancer research for women, and competes in the open-water swim with other participants, including college swim teams from across the region. The team participates in this event because many of the swimmers have loved ones who have battled cancer. This year, the Greyhounds raised $8,910 to benefit the Women & Infants Hospital Women’s Oncology program and the Center for Biomarkers and Emerging Technologies, bringing the team’s six-year fundraising total to $45,000.

The September event is one of the first events of the season and facilitates greater team cohesion. “Our participation helps the first-year student-athletes adapt to college life, allows them to experience what it feels like to do something worthwhile and important in the greater community, and shows them that they can achieve success as a team and can make a difference in the world,” Cromarty said.

Throughout the academic year, they strengthen their community and team bonds through participation in local projects. In 2018, the team participated in Working for Worcester, which improves recreation spaces for the city’s children, where they painted an entire elementary school library and built new bookshelves. From March to May, the swimmers work with Assumption’s Learn to Swim Program.

“Our community service involvement helps us build leadership skills and learn to take initiative for the greater good of others,” said Grace Gustinis ’21. “It inspires us to continue to make an impact, and allows us to gain a richer perspective on life and deeper knowledge about those with whom we share our world.”

Community service is not exclusive to the Women’s Swimming and Diving team. Last year, Assumption student-athletes completed 3,796 hours of service through projects and programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Chandler Elementary After School Program, Habitat for Humanity, Learn to Read at Nelson Place School, Relay For Life, and Team IMPACT.

“Community service develops thoughtful citizenship within our student-athletes,” said Peter Gardula, senior associate director of athletics. “They understand and value their role as leaders within the community. It is an opportunity to bring a team closer together as they work toward a common goal.”

“Each member of our team comes from a different background and brings a unique set of skills and interests,” added Gustinis. “Individually, we are very strong. But collectively, we are even stronger.”

As featured in the winter 2019 issue of the Assumption Magazine