Daily Egyptian

James finds perfect fit with Salukis

By Aaron Graff

 

According to swim Coach Rick Walker, freshman Sarah James has a chance at putting her name in the Saluki record books by the end of her college tenure.

James chose SIU because of the family environment she instantly saw on her recruiting trip. She said she wanted to be on a team that continuously works hard, and enjoys being around each other.

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“I chose SIU because it was a perfect fit for me,” James said. “When I came on my recruiting trip I fell in love with this school and I definitely fell in love with the team itself.”

James, originally from Colorado Springs, Colo. is accustomed to not always spending time with her family. Her mom has been a swimming coach, and she knew what she was getting into in coming to SIU. Even so, she does feel slightly homesick, and looks forward to her visit home during break.

Even as a freshman, James has claimed success as a Saluki, winning multiple races including the 200 yard backstroke against Missouri State, a team which has won the conference tournament six years in a row.

“My favorite thing about swimming is definitely the feeling (I) get after (I) have a great swim.” James said.

Her teammate, senior Kristy Hinkle said James is a huge asset to the team and it is hard to keep up with her. She remembers James’ visit to SIU, and Hinkle said she knew James would be a great catch.

“I remember on her recruiting trip when she came in,” Hinkle said. “(I) knew then that she was going to be a great person for us to have.”

Hinkle said James’ best quality as an athlete is her work ethic. She said James is capable of doing anything she wants because of how hard she trains.

“She sees something, she wants it, she is going to go get it,” Hinkle said. “I saw that in her back when I first met her a year ago.”

Walker said she takes her work ethic to an extreme amount sometimes. She pushes to the very end of every race even when she is hurting, and that is something the team needs to win.

“She is a fighter when it comes to racing,” Walker said. “We absolutely need that in the pool, and she is willing to lay it all out there to win.”

Hinkle and Walker both said James is working on improving herself. Walker said she has gotten better at letting the stroke work for her as opposed to muscling up. Hinkle said she is young, and will improve even more with experience.

“Everyone has somewhere to go, and she can only go up from where she is at,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle said James always comes in with a smile and is willing to work. She is always happy to be there, and Walker admires her spirit and passion for the team and the sport.

“She’s a refreshing spirit on the team,” Walker said. “I look forward to the dynamic she brings to the team and how the team is going to utilize that and get better.”

James said her goals for this season are to place well at conference and to help the team out as much as she can while she is a student here. She said she loves relays because she is racing with her team, but improving as an individual.

“I am really trying to just work hard and make myself a better swimmer,” James said. “I really am excited to be here at SIU, and I know that now that I’m here, it really is a perfect fit for me.”

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected]

or 536-3311 ext. 282.

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