Women’s swim team wins EPIC trophy

Sean Hastings, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern women’s swim team won the 2015 EPIC trophy, making it the second year in a row they won the award.

EPIC stands for Eastern Panthers in the Community. The trophy is given to one team each year and is based on community involvement, academic excellence and season success.

There is a point system that plays into a team winning the award.

The women’s swim team earned the highest GPA for both the 2014 fall semester and 2015 spring semester for all Division I swim programs in the nation.

The team earned a 3.59 GPA for the fall semester and a 3.70 GPA for the spring semester.

Sometimes the work outside of the pool gets overlooked, so to earn accolades outside of the pool is exciting, coach Jacqueline Michalski said.

“They worked really hard all season to commit to doing this,” Michalski said. “They did a lot of volunteer work, and they spend a lot of time in their academics. They not only got EPIC, but they got the highest GPA in the nation.”

The team not only puts in 20 hours of work a week, every week, they also find the time to give back to the community and earn high GPAs.

Michalski said she is honored to be their coach because of that.

One community service program the team is heavily involved in is Girls on the Run.

In the spring, the women on the team will be coaches for the event and help teach younger girls how to run, or how to become better athletes in general.

The team is also involved in Special Olympics, and the Salvation Army, where they went to an after school program.

Michalski said the community service events they go to are decided by the team.

“All the captains really have a plan and they sit down and organize it,” Michalski said.

Even though most of the community service for the team is done in the spring because the training is not as heavy, they still find time in their busy schedules to go out and do work in the community.

Seniors Beth Houghton, Kelsey Ferguson and Caitlin Danforth are the captains of the 2015 team.

Junior Fallyn Schwake is not an “official” captain, but Michalski said she plays a huge role into getting the EPIC trophy.

“It makes me very proud to be a part of a team that is so dedicated to hard work and giving back to the community,” Schwake said. “It’s also great to win a second time with a new coach. It really shows coach Jacqueline’s commitment to our team as well.”

Schwake said the team always strives for a high GPA, so going after and winning EPIC is another goal they set for themselves.

“Volunteering and community service is a goal for us to consistently work at,” Schwake said. “It builds strong bonds with the team, the school and community around us.”

Michalski said some people from the programs they were involved in have reached out to her after the events to send thank you cards.

“It’s not about having more fans, it’s about being good community members and giving back,” Michalski said. “It’s great to have more people come and support us but it’s really at the end of the day just giving back to the community, because they do give a lot to the school so we’re grateful for that always.”

The Panthers’ season begins Oct. 16 when they travel to Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Invitational. Their first home meet will be the following day when they take on IUPUI.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]