What do a hard work ethic, a competitive spirit and a Bowdoin record in the 50-yard breaststroke have in common? They all belong to swimmer Caitlin Callahan '11.
With the swimming and diving season underway, Callahan has asserted herself as one of the dominant members of the women's swim team.
In the season opening meet against Babson and MIT on November 21, Callahan was part of a 200-medley relay team that finished second.
She also won the 100-yard breaststroke, edging her closest opponent by 1.34 seconds and finishing the meet with a second place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. Despite Callahan's strong showing, Bowdoin eventually split the meet, defeating Babson but falling to MIT.
Head Coach Brad Burnham attributed Callahan's success to her efforts in practice.
"Caitlin's work ethic is second to none," said Burnham. "She is always ready for the toughest parts in practice and if things aren't that demanding she will find a way to challenge herself."
Callahan's work ethic also seems to be contagious.
"Everyone around her knows that if you want to work hard, then get into Caitlin's lane," said Burnham. "I think that is one thing that makes her a great teammate. Everyone can depend on her to be present and focused at every practice."
Success is not unknown to Callahan. Last year, she posted a time of 30.72 seconds in the 50-yard breaststroke to finish No. 2 in the NESCAC championship meet, earning her All-Conference honors.
Her time in the event eclipsed a mark set by Molly Fey in 1995 and is the current Bowdoin record. In the same championship meet, she raced the 200-medley with a team that included Allison Palmer '11, Erin McAuliffe '11, and Megan Sullivan '11. The group set a new Bowdoin record of 1:50.34.
Callahan also joined Palmer, Jessie Small '11 and Allen Garner '12 to establish a new 400-medley program record.
Callahan stressed the importance of teamwork in not just medley relays but in the entire sport of swimming.
"Even though swimming is really individual, it's also a team sport," she said. "Our team cheer always pumps me up and make me want to swim. I really love being a part of the team."
Callahan has high expectations for this season. She is one of the leading members of a team that features ten juniors but just two seniors.
"I want to make nationals for my personal events and my medley team," said Callahan. "I'm really excited for the team this year. We have a great group of freshman."
Despite her past achievements, Callahan, like any great athlete, is still striving to improve. With help from Burnham, Callahan has reconstructed her breaststroke technique in search of a more efficient stroke.
"Caitlin is willing to head down a road of significant technique change," said Burnham. "She is willing to risk her current position for a shot at something much faster. I am so proud to be a part of that process."