|Senior Nicole Bennett, a four-year letterwinner with the |
Minnesota State women's swim team, has taken full advantage
of her time in Mankato.
Majoring in sport management and mass media and carrying a 3.40 grade point average, Bennett has taken full advantage of her time in Mankato. Not only has she done the job in the classroom and with her team. She's also assisted within the department of athletics during the school year and taken the initiative to find work during the summer that would relate back to her major.
How did you decide to come to MSU?
Bennett: "I had read information online about Maverick swimming and came on an unofficial visit during the summer during Viking training camp. During that time I met coach Owens and thought that really this might be a place I should consider. After that I started doing some additional research and saw that there was a good sport management program. I then came back on an official visit and got to meet some of the team members. Basically I verbally committed on that trip. I had taken a look at some other schools but didn't consider going anywhere else. It was a the type of deal where I wanted to go to a program where I would have a chance to improve and I could see that coming here. I wanted to go to a program in which I could make a difference and make strides and improvements within the team."
You're in your fourth year with the Mavericks. Has it gone like you thought it would?
Bennett: "It has flown by and can't believe after my more than a decade of swimming, I will be done in February. I knew that the longer college season (compared to high school) wasn't going to be an issue for me coming in and it hasn't. I've had a chance to do some things during the summer (in college) that I wasn't doing in high school. I've been in our distance training group for four years and some one new every year has coached us with different graduate assistants, but they've all been great and I have nothing to say but good things about the coaches we've worked with. They deserve alot of credit for what we've done here. They've been very relateable and took time out to specify workouts towards me."
Outside of swimming, during your time at MSU, you've been busy. Speak about some of the things you've done during your time in Mankato.
Bennett: "Ever since my freshman year I've taken high course loads. Typically 16-19 credits, plus summer credits. So basically, for the most part it's been class, studying, practices and competition. With sports management, I've had opportunity to work with the Milwaukee Brewers (summer of 2012) and in 2012-13 worked in MSU Athletics on the development side. I worked with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA affiliate of Kansas City Royals) on a game day internship this past summer, and this school year I've been interning in athletics communications at MSU (relating to mass media and sport management majors). Every year I've done Swim With the Mavericks which consists of two six-week sessions with kids aged two through eight. With that program I've had the opportunity to have met numerous families within the community and that's helped me grow as a person. I don't take that for granted and it's been lots of fun."
Bennett: "Well, this year's still in the works, but last year I finished in the top eight in all three of my individual events at the mid-season taper meet in Rochester and swam a lifetime best in the 100-yd breast there. Then, I also swam three individual events at the NSIC championship meet and finished tenth at the 400-yd IM. I was a member of NSIC All-Academic team last year and am pretty proud of that. My sophomore year I placed 10th in 200-yd breaststroke at Minnesota Challenge meet. And as a freshman I swam at Midwest Collegiate Championships and I finished 7th in 400 IM and 8th in 200 IM."
You're going to going to graduate in the spring. Then what?
Bennett: "I'm still trying to figure that out. I've worked in pro baseball for two summers and have really liked the experience. I love the game - I grew up twenty miles away from Miller Park and it was truly a dream come true to work for the Brewers two summers ago. I've had good experiences within intercollegiate athletics, so grad school down the road is a possibility or something else along those lines if that works out. I have some connections at the University of Arkansas as a result of working with the Naturals, but I have nothing set in stone. I think once my swimming career gets done, I'll have some time to sit down and consider some of these things."
What types of memories will you take with you once it's all said and done?
Bennett: "Going from a coed team to a just a women's team following my freshman year was not something that I expected coming here. But after it happened, and talking with Coach about potentially going somewhere else, and after looking for a short time, I was reminded of why I came here in the first place. By staying and experiencing change, it was a good lesson. Change is something that always happens. It's constant. And although it wasn't an ideal situation at the time, it made me appreciate what we have. My sophomore year was the year with most change and we're stronger now. Our coaches have done a good job of recruiting, bringing in people with right attitudes and mindsets. The team chemistry the past two years is better than my first two years. Late nights, road trips, who was swimming beside me in my lane in practice. Those are the things I'll remember the most."