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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Selfless swimmer steps up

    Erin Sieper
    Erin Sieper

    For anyone who has ever been involved in any kind of competitive sport, most remember the one person on the team who quietly competes and is the motivator of the squad. The type who constantly used the tried-and-true saying “”There is no ‘I’ in team.””

    For the No. 7 Arizona swimming and diving team, that person is senior swimmer Erin Sieper.

    Sieper is one of the Wildcats’ co-captains and is always on the lookout for ways to keep the team fun. She is certainly not a person ever to speak ill of her team.

    “”I like to motivate the team in fun ways with posters and getting everyone pumped,”” she said.

    The excitement she brings to the pool is something to be expected from a woman who has barely gotten out of the water since age 8. She picked swimming as her sport because she loved playing in the pool. She still plays today – just with a more competitive style.

    Sieper said that she is having her best year in the Arizona swim program after treading under the radar for most of her four years.

    “”She came in relatively unknown and not someone with a tremendous amount of experience,”” Arizona head coach Frank Busch said. “”She has been a fierce competitor.””

    Busch said Sieper is one of the best breaststrokers the team has.

    “”She is a senior on top of her game,”” Busch said.

    Said Sieper: “”Last year was a bad year for me. I want to go out on top, in the top eight for both of my events.””

    This year has already proved to be more than anything Sieper could have predicted, as she contributed to the Wildcats’ title at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships on Feb. 22-25.

    Sieper, who stayed tight-lipped on her predictions for the NCAA Championships, is looking forward to competing.

    “”I’m a little nervous about saying anything because I might curse it,”” she said.

    Sieper said she believes that this is the strongest team that she has ever been on.

    She came in relatively unknown and not someone with a tremendous amount of experience. She has been a fierce competitor.

    – Frank Busch, head coach

    The Racine, Wis., native is a far cry from the freshman who came to the desert. She said her stroke has changed and that she learned to tell herself to be confident and have fun.

    “”I am more confident in my abilities,”” she said. “”Being able to help lead others and be a part of this team has helped me grow as a person.””

    Sieper said she credits her swimming success to the Arizona program.

    “”The coaches are amazing – they make me want to be at practice,”” she said. “”The girls on the team are like a family.””

    A family that can also be dysfunctional at times, like every normal family is. Sieper said that she sees her team members like they are her brothers and sisters, adding that sometimes there is drama.

    However, despite any issues the players may experience, she thinks both the men’s and women’s team practicing together under one coach makes for a more unified atmosphere.

    “”(No. 3) Stanford and (No. 6) California don’t even swim with their guys’ team,”” she said. “”Since we are all under one coach, it makes it more of a family.””

    This woman is all about team. She even uses her teammates for inspiration, keying on junior swimmer Whitney Myers as one who specifically inspires her.

    “”(Myers) is an amazing swimmer and has a great personality, always bouncing around,”” she said.

    Sieper’s parents are a big inspiration in her life as well. She said she hoped not to be terribly clichǸ but said that her parents always make sure that she is having fun and smiling.

    It’s a safe bet to say that Sieper probably doesn’t need much help staying positive and keeping that big smile.

    Outside of swimming Sieper may be found listening to music or watching “”Napoleon Dynamite,”” one of her all-time favorite movies.

    “”I hate it when people say they love all music, but unfortunately it’s true for me,”” she said.

    As for the team at the NCAA Championships, Sieper allowed herself a bit of a look into the future, keeping with her normally positive and encouraging outlook.

    “”I think we will do well and surprise ourselves,”” she said.

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