Veronica Alferez swimming at a meet during her time at Rowan. Alferez is currently a senior and will not be able to compete in her final season due to winter sports being canceled. - Photo / Rowan Athletics

As a result of Rowan University not participating in the winter athletics season, many teams, both winter and fall were affected by this news. 

One team in particular that has been impacted by this news is the women’s swimming and diving team. Senior captain Veronica Alferez described how she felt after hearing the news that she would not be able to compete during her senior year.

“I was kind of sad because competing for the NJAC [New Jersey Athletic Conference] is really fun, and just having people behind your lane, like cheering you on to swim faster and really do your best for the team,” Alferez said. “It’s the most heartbreaking, just because we don’t have that opportunity anymore.” 

Alferez, who last season earned NJAC first team honors in the 400 individual medley and 500 freestyle, was a member of the All-Conference first team 800 freestyle relay, received a NJAC All-Academic honorable mention and was named a Rowan Scholar Athlete. 

She has been swimming for over 15 years, and recalls her journey to swim at Rowan.

“I actually came to visit the campus, and that’s when I really started to like it, because it’s a smaller campus,” Alferez said. “And when I met all of the girls it just kind of felt more like a family, and just somewhere where I thought I could grow.” 

Although she is disappointed that she will not be able to compete for a title one final time, she stressed the importance of staying committed to the team and really focusing on her skills as a swimmer. 

“Even though we’re not technically competing, we do still push each other at practice, and I didn’t want to quit just because we didn’t have competition,” Alferez said. “I still wanted to feel some sort of closure after swimming for so long.” 

As a captain, both players and coaches rely on her to lead the team and keep a positive mindset, even if the team is just practicing. She talks about how lucky she is to have such a strong support system from her teammates and coaches. 

“I had a really good connection with all of the coaches, and just having people that if you have any little problem you can always go talk to them.[Coach] Elise is like a very good mentor, so just having her around to talk about anything, about graduating, and like the outside world, she gives us life lessons all the time,” Alferez said. “So I think I’ll miss that, having someone right there for me.” 

Even though she won’t be able to compete, Alferez is honing in on her technical skills, and making sure her younger teammates are focusing their skills on the next competition season. 

“It’s mostly technical work and working on the little details in swimming,” Alferez said. “So that the younger grades can get to use it as a resource for the next competition season.” 

She also offered some final advice for her younger teammates.

“I would probably say to really form bonds with the team, because we’re doing it because we love the sport, not because we’re getting paid or anything,” Alferez said. “So it’s really in everyone’s best interest to really get to know every single person on the team, and to love what we’re doing, because all of a sudden it could be taken away in a second.”

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