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February 13, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 15

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In the Limelight

Harris prepared for championships

Catherine Harris
The Susquehanna swim teams will be heading to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for the Landmark Conference Championships today, and junior Catherine Harris is hoping to keep the pressure off with some excellent performances.

Harris, who hails from Miller Place, N.Y., has chlorine in her blood as she has been swimming since she was five years old.

"I hated running, the water just seemed to fit," Harris said.

Harris swam on a club team from sixth to ninth grades, and then she put a pause on her swimming career in high school due to a lack of a swim team.

She participated in clubs to keep herself busy, however, when Harris entered college here at Susquehanna she decided to join the swim team.

During the summer Harris works out five days a week to get back in shape after so many years of not swimming competitively. "I lift for an hour and then go swim for two."

Since she had not been swimming in high school, dropping her times over the last two and a half years has been really manageable, according to Harris.

Like the rest of the swim team and the university as a whole, Harris was really close to the late head coach G. Edward "Ged" Schweikert III and said that it has been a real adjustment swimming for Coach Phillips.

"Coach gives advice about what you need to work on, but also points out the positive," said Harris, adding that the level of encouragement that Phillips gives is great, and definitely what is needed during meets.

A distinct parallel between Schweikert and Phillips is that both encouraged the team to stand on the edge of the pool cheering on competing teammates.

Harris said that a lot of other teams just sit around and don't really cheer their teammates on.

Harris not only holds the top team marks in the 50 and 100 freestyles, she has also been one of the top performers in conference play.

In the Landmark, Harris currently holds third place in the 50 Freestyle, fifth in the 100 Freestyle, 18th in the 200 Freestyle, fifth in the 100 Butterfly and 11th in the 200 Butterfly.

At championships she will be racing in the 50 Freestyle, the 100 Freestyle, the 100 Butterfly, as well as a combination of relays.

Harris said that she has been hoping to break the school records in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, putting her name into Susquehanna history.

"I had my eye on the record all year," said Harris.

To get ready for meets Harris said that they have team pasta parties the night before a meet.

While at the meets, Harris said that she just listens to her iPod and tries not to get too nervous or think about the race too much.

Championships will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with preliminaries taking place in the morning, and the top 12 of the morning continuing on to that night for finals. The top six swimmers will be able to score.

Besides swimming, Harris is working on her Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in legal studies. For now, along with competitive swimming, Harris is part of the Pre-Law Society on campus, works in the Political Science department and is also a student advisor.

After graduation, Harris is planning on going to law school and figuring out her life through what she describes as, "Whatever door is open."

King's Point, N.Y. waits for Harris tonight, and by the sounds of it, preparation will not be absent.

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