Transfer student finds home and old love for swimming at Rowan

Posted: November 15, 2011 by vindanton in College Sports

By Vin D’Anton

Glassboro, NJ – When Kelsey Woodward graduated from Shawnee High School (Medford, New Jersey) in 2010, the Medford Lakes native decided to pack up and hit the road for Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, which is over 150 miles and three hours away from home. Woodward was a three sport varsity athlete at Shawnee in track, field hockey, and her childhood favorite…swimming, in which she lettered freshman year.

“I had no plans to do swim at Bloomsburg. After I graduated high school, I said I was done with it and I didn’t think otherwise…it took up too much of my life,” Woodward said, who has been swimming competitively since she was eight years old. Woodward also realized she made a mistake in choosing Bloomsburg and sports were a far after thought. “The second I got to Bloomsburg, I knew something was wrong. I had awful roommates and it was in the middle of nowhere,” she said. After the fall semester, she repacked and was headed back to South Jersey.

“I chose Rowan because it is close to home, I liked the school and I now love it. I already knew people here, but have met so many more great people,” Woodward said.

After a 2011 spring semester of just doing classes and hanging out with her friends, Woodward needed something to do. “When I arrived here this fall, I realized that besides classes, I had nothing to do with my life, so I decided to pick up swimming!” Woodward said. She did have her doubts when she e-mailed longtime head coach Tony Lisa. “I emailed coach telling him I was interested, but there was no way I thought I would actually make the Rowan swim team.” Even though it was a lot more yardage of swimming and light-years more competitive than high school, the sophomore made the team.

Woodward also had no problem fitting in. “It took me longer to get in shape than everybody else and it was kind of awkward in front of people you’ve never met in your life, but right away everyone was so nice and things have been great…plus we are with each other for so many hours a day so we grow on each other,” she said.

Getting through a day is not an easy thing whatsoever. She wakes up at 5:55am for 6:45 morning work outs which consists of no swimming. It is all abs, agility, weights, etc. till 7:45. From 3:15 to 5:15 is swim practice where normally the team swims 5,000 yards and Woodward says she “hopes” she burns 1,500 calories day. “I hate waking at 5:55 in the morning, but once I’m in the pool I am loving what I am doing…it’s more fun than business for me and I’d say there is more negatives than positives,” Woodward said.

Before her first race against Cabrini University, Woodward was nervous, but she said it was a little easier than she expected. In the 100 freestyle sprint, Woodward had a time of 1:04 and 28:11 in the 50. “Though I didn’t place, I was actually right there with everyone else in the race, so my confidence has not gone down,” she said. Rowan won the meet 106-81 and moved to 3-0 on the season.

“I definitely intend to swim until I graduate. I love where I’m at and love the team. Also, what I want to take out of swimming is first keep as athletic as I am now, and keep the structure it has given me. It has given me discipline, structure and meaning in my life which is a key tool for my future. I love having structure in my life and what better than learning that from something I first learned when I was five years old,” Woodward said. She is a marketing major whose dream is to get a job with a major corporation and live in the city she loves more than any other…Philadelphia.


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