Ivy League Championship Meet

Since this is my first post, I’ll start by talking a little about myself. My name is Daniel Gutnayer and I’m a junior in Wharton. After some struggling, I finally decided to concentrate in Real Estate, and am currently on course to double concentrate in Finance. I’ve been swimming since I was 9 and now am on the University of Pennsylvania Men’s Varsity Swim Team. I also have been playing viola since I was 9, and music remains one of my biggest hobbies.

When I came to Penn, one of the things I was most worried about was finding a close group of friends like I had in high school.  Luckily for me, the Penn environment really fosters groups and helps them flourish. For me, the first group I belonged to was the swim team. The team here is an extremely tight-knit group that functions almost like a giant family. We have rules, traditions, and culture that create a strong and lasting bond between us.

Right now, we are a week away from the Men’s Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championship Meet which will be held at Princeton University. This is arguably the most exciting time of the year for the swim team – we’re all getting extremely psyched up for the meet. Our attitude in practice is becoming more and more serious as we prepare to be perfect at the meet. We’re constantly sending each other inspirational emails and reminding one another of how we expect to perform next week. We have been training hard since the day we got here, having 9 to 11 practices a most weeks since the start of the academic year. All of the time and energy is to swim fast at this one meet, this one weekend.  Next week is a big deal. The swim team family is buzzing with excitement, ready to wear the Penn “P” on our caps while kicking some butt at Princeton.

After next week, our season will be over. We will no longer have crazy practice to force us to spend time together, but we will remain a family. We will still see each other daily, and the swim team will remain a huge part of all of our social lives. I am lucky to be part of such a wonderful group of people, this swim family, which is a form of stability in the exciting time in my life. No matter what happens in class or in my life, I know I belong to a community that will always be there for me. At Penn, this is not a unique experience. There are a multitude of “families,” the challenge is picking which one you want to belong to.

I’ve uploaded my current Facebook profile picture. This is one of the things our team is doing to psych ourselves up for the meet: over the next week we are adding the Penn athletic shield to our profile pictures. Next time I blog, I’m sure it’ll be about how all of our preparation paid off and how well we swam at Ivy’s!