Share Your Story: Casey Boyd
Being a student-athlete meant coming into college and automatically having 30 friends who knew exactly what you were going through. I got to know my teammates in a way that no one else could because we were with each other through the good and bad swims, the disqualifications, the injuries, the long bus rides, the training trips and the excitement of our Big Ten Conference meet. These are friendships that go beyond swimming and will last a lifetime.
One particular memory which I will always cherish comes from our training trip to Aliso Viejo, Calif., in January of 2003. It was so bitterly cold that we actually had people crying during our outdoor practices. In order to get through the practices, the sprint group decided to have "theme days," during which we were only allowed to talk to each other and the coach in accordance with each practice's theme. Some of our themes included Song Lyric Day, Office Space Day and Foreign Accent Day.
Everyone in the group, including our coach, added something to the experience. The trip ended with my doing a solo performance of Madonna's "Express Yourself" from atop a starting block, then doing a cannon ball into the swimming pool. Needless to say, my coaches were surprised!
I was also able to tutor and be in a Bible study with a few of the freshmen. Of all the classes of swimmers that I knew, the underclassmen were the ones that I connected with the best. I attribute this to the goal that I had as captain to be "approachable and available." I would give anything to be back at Illinois! Thanks for the good times.