Welcome to the Team: First years try to lap the competition

Butler welcomes first-year swimmers Lily Schwelgin, Sam Tomic, Lydia Eberlein and Lauren Bergman to the team. Photo by Claire Runkel. 

SAM CARUS | SPORTS REPORTER | scarus@butler.edu 

“Welcome to the Team” is a Q&A series where the Collegian sits down with student-athletes who are entering their first season at Butler University. These articles will address why they chose Butler, what they hope to get out of their first season and some personal tidbits that you won’t find anywhere else

This week, sports reporter Sam Carus sat down with the four first years who are competing for the Butler women’s swim team: Sam Tomic, Lauren Bergman, Lily Schwelgin and Lydia Eberlein

Sam Tomic is a free and fly swimmer from Bourbonnais, Illinois

Sam Carus: How did you become such a well-rounded swimmer in a number of events? 

Sam Tomic: I really worked hard with a coach this past year. He’s from a college in my town who knows coach [Maurice Stewart], and he really helped shape me into the swimmer I am, and really helped me to be more versatile in all events and stuff like that. 

SC: How would you describe the culture of this program? 

ST: The culture of our team is honestly spectacular. It’s the best of any club or high school team I’ve been a part of. We really support each other and bring one another up. We have a positive environment … across our whole team. 

SC: Who on the team would you say pushes you the hardest in practice? 

ST: Kate [Schilling] really pushes me, so does Grace Crane, Lily [Schwelgin] or other freshmen. All three of them are really good teammates. We’re really good at pushing each other to be the best [we] can be overall. 

SC: What did it mean for you to win a city championship in high school? 

ST: It meant a lot to me because I really love to represent my team. I really wanted to contribute and put my part in — especially as a senior last year — and I think winning that really meant a lot to our whole team and our big group of seniors we had.

Lauren Bergman is a sprint, fly and free swimmer from Fishers, Indiana

Sam Carus: Being a four-year varsity player in high school, has your leadership grown from your first year in high school to where you are now at Butler? 

Lauren Bergman: I think I always lead with positivity … in high school and coming here it’s kind of nice to have leaders to look up to and so, following them and learning from them. I think that’ll help my leadership grow. 

SC: What is it like swimming for Maurice Stewart? 

LB: He’s amazing. He’s so encouraging, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better here, stronger and faster. I’m really excited to see what I do in the Big East. 

SC: Is he one of the main reasons you came here? 

LB: Yes, he is the reason I committed here. 

SC: After setting a record for the Southeastern Swim Club, how do you keep pushing yourself to get better even after setting records? 

LB: Setting those records was very motivating for me, and I think I just always want to improve and get better. [That] really prepared me for high intensity pressure situations,, so I felt very prepared to come here and do what I need to do. 

SC: What else besides coach Stewart at Butler made you think this was the right fit for you? 

LB: Well, I love the school, and I love the pharmacy program. I wanted smaller class sizes, and I just love my classes here. I’m having a good time. 

Lily Schwelgin is a fly swimmer from Dublin, Ohio

Sam Carus: What did it take to lead your team to four straight conference titles in high school? 

Lily Schwelgin: Honestly, just a lot of grit [and] good attitudes every day. Just coming to practice with a positive attitude, a lot of teamwork and supporting each other every day at practice. 

SC: As a member of the National Honor Society in high school, how did you manage school and swimming? 

LS: I should say time management was a super big thing. How to balance swimming, volunteering and all my schoolwork was definitely a hurdle, but it was good to get through that. 

SC: What initially attracted you to this program? 

LS: The community, honestly. I stepped right on campus, and I felt like I was at home, and our team is like a family. We’re all so close. Everybody supports each other, and we just push each other to be our best selves every day. 

Lydia Eberlein is a breaststroke swimmer from Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Sam Carus: How can you translate the successes you had in high school when your conference won the title three times to the college level? 

Lydia Eberlein: I think the college level is definitely a lot different. I think all that stuff in high school was fun, but it’s definitely like a big step up, and I don’t feel like those successes really translate much into the college level just because it’s so different. But that definitely was a fun time in my life. 

SC: How’d you find your success specifically in the breaststroke? 

LE: Just from a young age, I always liked breaststroke. I started off [swimming fly] when I was really little. My team was heavy on breaststroke when I was little. I had a coach who was a very specific breaststroke coach, and I clicked with her, so that’s kind of where that took off. 

SC: What advice have you received from some of the older swimmers on the team in practice? What have you learned from the leaders on the team so far? 

LE: A lot. They’ve been super helpful. The transition to college can be a lot, and it’s definitely been a lot easier having them swimming. They’ve helped a lot, of course, with what some of coach Mo’s terminology means. [It] can be different from what we’ve done in the past. We’re coming up with our new class schedules, and they’ve been really helpful with that, and just how to balance swimming, school, life and everything. 

SC: What do you think the biggest adjustment has been going from high school to college? 

LE: I’m definitely swimming a lot. The training has definitely picked up from what I was used to. I mean, it’s hard training. It’s just a different new lift program, new types of practices. I was very specific about sprint breaststroke in high school, and I’m working on the 200 more, so that’s probably been the biggest adjustment. 

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.


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