FSU swimming and diving suits for the new season

The Florida State Seminoles swim and dive teams are dressing and preparing to make their mark in the water for the 2022-23 season. Athletes will kick off their season at the Morcom Aquatics Center on Friday, September 23 at 2 p.m., where they will compete in their annual Garnet vs. Gold intrasquad meet. Admission is free and open to the public.

The ‘Noles are divided into two different teams: Garnet and Gold. The encounter consists of the two teams competing against each other. During this week, the Garnet and Gold teams will engage in challenges against each other before the friendly competition on Friday. The annual event breaks the ice and kicks off the new season.

Team captain Madeleine McDonald looks forward to working with fellow captains Aryanna Fernandes and Sydney VanOvermeiren this year to lead the team to success.

“It’s a really fun job to be in and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with it,” McDonald said. “It’s our responsibility to hold people accountable, not just in the pool, but for community service and being a good teammate.”

The three captains of the women’s team work alongside the captains of the men’s team to prepare for the season. They plan activities for the team, volunteer at events and work together to make sure everyone is ready when they hit the water.

At the moment, the Garnet and Gold are in the training preparation phase. They work to get in shape for the season by prioritizing aerobic conditioning. The team trains nine times a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday morning, every afternoon except Wednesday and Saturday morning. The Seminoles train with different coaches every day. They divide into different groups based on stroke and distance, and they incorporate lifting into practices.

Redshirt senior McDonald competes in backstroke and freestyle. His favorite part of competing revolves around running.

“I like to push my body,” McDonald said. “I like trying out different racing strategies and racing with people from all over.”

She believes the best thing the team can do to have a winning season is to go all out.

“Trusting our coaches and working really hard in the pool and outside the pool as well,” McDonald says. “And in the classroom, even volunteering, I think all of that and being really well-rounded, makes our team successful.”

Hailing from Ontario, McDonald is entering her fifth year as a student-athlete. She first heard about FSU when she was in grade 10 or 11 and got involved before she even visited the school.

“It’s one of the best decisions of my life and I’m so happy to be here. […] and everything went well,” McDonald recalled.

Since her time as ‘Nole, she has seen the team transform. Each year a new freshman class joins and adds their own twist to the team. The team continues to rotate and improve with each new edition. Swimmers and divers from all sorts of different backgrounds and cultures wear a Seminoles wetsuit.

This season McDonald’s is excited to travel and compete with the team. With her extra year, McDonald’s is working to keep herself and her team on track with goals in the pool, as well as community service and academic goals.

“I feel very lucky to have this extra year and this extra opportunity,” McDonald said. “So I’m just trying to make the most of it in the pool, but also make new friends and get involved in the athletic department.”

This year, McDonald is also starting to work towards her goals after her swimming career ends. After graduating, she plans to go to medical school and is now beginning to make that dream a reality as she prepares to submit applications.

However, McDonald’s work in the water isn’t done yet. McDonald and the Florida State Swim and Dive team are ready to get their toes wet and start the new season in their pool.