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The Scarlet & Black

Athlete spotlight: Summer White aims for gold at conference

Summer White hopes to cap off her Pioneer career with a win at the conference swim and dive meet. Photo by Elena Copell.
Summer White hopes to cap off her Pioneer career with a win at the conference swim and dive meet. Photo by Elena Copell.

When it comes to juggling multiple responsibilities, few Grinnell students have more experience than Summer White ’18, SGA President and a member of the women’s swim and dive team. Throughout her career, White has been lauded a several time Midwest Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Performer of the Week, Academic All-Conference recipient and MWC Women’s Diver of the Year in 2017. She looks to culminate her success in this weekend’s Conference Championship Meet.

“I want to dive to win,” White said. “That’s a motto that my coach says often. And by that he means for each of our teammates to do our best and try to beat each other.”

White began her career early, joining her neighborhood diving team when she was just a toddler. Although she claims that “four-year-old Summer diving was probably just me waddling off the board,” she stuck with it and competed every summer into her late teens. She gradually learned the intricacies of the sport, which is evaluated by judges who watch for various elements of the dive such as form, entry into the water and position in the air. Each diver then receives a score between one and ten.

Even before Grinnell, White was accustomed to taking on several different commitments. In addition to swimming and diving, she participated in competitive cheerleading as a child, an experience that likely assisted her ability to move gracefully through the air during a dive. However, she eventually chose to narrow her focus to diving in order to excel in her diving career.

“It got to a point where my summer league coach thought that I had potential and should capitalize on that by diving year round,” White said.

In addition to her success in the pool, White has benefitted from several other aspects of her involvement on the team. She asserts that the support and companionship of her teammates has had a crucial role in making her Grinnell experience as fulfilling as it has been thus far. In addition, she has used her opportunities here to build on her already impressive abilities as a diver.

“I came into college thinking that I had kind of plateaued and that I could do everything I could possibly do in diving, but I’ve been learning new things every season which has been really cool,” White said.

While diving has undoubtedly been a positive force on her college experience, it has also added to the number of obligations that fall in her lap as she remains a very active member of the community. In addition to addressing all of the tasks that come with serving as the SGA President, White also maintains a heavy coursehold as a political science major with a concentration in policy studies. However, she handles her duties with the poise and composure of a professional.

“I would say I make it fit in well, as well as I can,” White said. “That doesn’t come without sacrifice. My role as SGA President is important to me, diving and staying physically active is important to me, classes are obviously going to be a top priority, besides just sustaining my life as a person by eating and sleeping and that kind of stuff. I do the things that I need to do so that I have time to do the things that I want to do.”

With the final meet of her career coming up this weekend, White hopes to put herself in a position to beat her personal record and compete at her very best. The swim and dive teams host conference this weekend in the natatorium.

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