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Freshman Swimmer Ellard Makes Big Splash

Swimmer, Britin Ellard, jumped right in to BC's record books by setting a new mark for nine school records.

Britin Ellard

The freshman biology major broke 9 individual records this season including: 100, 500 and 1000 meter freestyle, 50 meter backstroke, 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and 200 and 400 meter individual relay. To top it off, Ellard has qualified for nationals in St. Peters, Michigan (Feb. 27 - Mar. 4) in the following 8 events: 100, 200 and 500 meter freestyle, 200 meter backstroke, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and 200 and 400 meter individual medley. However, she is only allowed to swim three events of her choice, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. With all of these accomplishments under her swim cap we decided to get to know her different strokes.

BCnow: Where are you from?
Ellard: I'm from the good 'ol South and Atlanta, Georgia. Really, I am from Roswell, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, but if I say I'm from Roswell, the reaction I usually get is, "Wow! So you live with the aliens?!" and then I have to go through the whole spill of Georgia and the Roswell I am from. Hence why I usually leave it at Atlanta.

BCnow: Where did you go to high school?
Ellard: I was home schooled all four years of high school.

BCnow: Did you break any swimming records in high school?
Ellard: Not at the public high school in my city because in Georgia the public schools do not have to allow homeschoolers to participate in their sports, so I swam for a year-round team, and I only bettered my own personal best times, I didn't break any of their records.

BCnow: When did you start swimming?
Ellard: I started swimming year-round when I was almost 14 years old, but I had been on our summer league team a few years before that.

BCnow: How did you learn to swim?
Ellard: I learned how to swim when I was three years old and I started very gradually. I didn't catch on right away and swim like a fish, I was your typical kid learning how to swim. It took me the whole summer and even part of the next to finally be comfortable swimming on my own.

BCnow: Who taught you how to swim?
Ellard: My parents taught me how to swim at our city pool and every summer since we have all pretty much spent our time there.

BCnow: What is your earliest swimming memory?
Ellard: Swimming at the beach on Edisto Island and tasting all of the salt water, wondering why it was different and a whole lot harder to swim in the ocean than in the pool from home. Oh, the joys of learning from experience.

BCnow: Why do you swim?
Ellard: Because I enjoy the exercise and am a huge competitor. It is also a stress reliever for me here at school, because I have swam for so long it is something I know how to do by heart. All I have to do is hop in the pool and I can go on autopilot and merely relax and get rid of the tension of the day.

BCnow: What do you enjoy most about swimming?
Ellard: I enjoy the well-roundedness of it. For example, I could be hanging at the beach and leisurely swimming or I could be hard-core racing at a finals competition with my adrenaline pumping. Another end would be the competitions and finishing a hard practice knowing that I gave my all and I pushed through when it hurt.

BCnow: What do you enjoy least about swimming?
Ellard: The long hours. Sometimes I get very discouraged with all of the time and energy I put into swimming with no results, but I guess that is part of life.

BCnow: How do you feel about breaking 9 school records as a freshman?
Ellard: It is pretty cool; I didn't really know what to expect when I came to Berea and I am definitely happy and amazed at times.

BCnow: How do you feel about qualifying for nationals in 8 events?
Ellard: I believe it is an amazing opportunity and privilege for me to represent the college and I am really excited to be able to go.

BCnow: How many hours a week do you practice?
Ellard: Officially, 10, but usually about 12 hours total.

BCnow: What is your favorite event?
Ellard: The 200 breaststroke.

BCnow: What is your least favorite event?
Ellard: The 1650 freestyle, it is so long! I have to give kudos to the people who swim it.

BCnow: What is your favorite memory from this season?
Ellard: Our bus ride to Centre College. I never thought the whole team could get that car sick and laugh about it.

BCnow: Do you have any goals for your swimming?
Ellard: My goal right now is to make it to the final heat in all my events form nationals. When nationals are over I will make some more, but right now I am trying to concentrate on the present.

BCnow: Do you have any dreams for excelling at swimming?
Ellard: I have always wanted to reach my full potential and just truly see how far I can go, wherever that might lead to.

BCnow: With the Olympics going on in Torino right now, have you ever had any dreams of making it that far?
Ellard: Yeah, I have. I think it is something that I have always dreamed about whether it is realistic or not.

BCnow: Who is your mentor?
Ellard: I think my parents have always been my mentors in regards to life's difficulties, and I think my older brother (he was my swim coach at one time) is whom I ask a lot of my swimming questions and other general stuff.

BCnow: Are you the only swimmer in your family?
Ellard: No, my older three siblings swam year-round and three of my younger siblings swim year-round right now, along with the little guys just goofing off in the pool when they have the time.

BCnow: What is your all-time favorite swimming memory?
Ellard: When I had just started swimming, I was at my first prelims finals meet and I made it back to finals in a breaststroke events. My dad was the one who brought me to finals and I was just so amazed at being there that when I beat my best time by 5 seconds the feeling was amazing.

BCnow: What do you like to do in your free time?
Ellard: Play any kind of sports, triathlons, ultimate Frisbee, basketball, down time with my friends, and of course, that thing we all love, homework.

BCnow: Are you gifted in any other sports?
Ellard: I don't know if I was gifted in them, but I have played other sports and really enjoyed them, but swimming and triathlons are the only sports I have really pursued.

BCnow: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ellard: I am still fluctuating and nothing is for certain or set in stone, but I am leaning towards pediatrics and possibly research.

BCnow: What are your words to live by?
Ellard: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

BCnow: What advice do you have for people who want to improve their swimming skills or start swimming competitively?
Ellard: Go ahead and jump right in. Everybody is new when they start and swimming is a life long skill that you can use even when you get really old.

Maggie Heffernan also qualified for the nationals in 50 and 100 meter freestyle but is currently studying abroad in Australia.

The BC swim and dive team is currently finishing up their season with one meet left against Warren Wilson, King, and Mars Hill Colleges on February 18.

Team members Jessica Hornsby, Britin Ellard, Megan Gilpin, Erin Hagood, Samantha Lynch, Katie Mitzel, Susan Mudd, Caitlin Mutter, Maggie Heffernan, David Moore, Fletcher Bell, Andrew Bridges, Marek Counts, Paul McPhearson, Jacob Pardieu, Nathan Slater and Adam Stogdell are finishing the season with a mixed record placing anywhere from first to fifth place, but never last.

Coach James Barrett said he had fun with his swimmers this year but would like more practice time. "At a small college, so focused on academics, it's hard to demand the time out of students," he said. He is looking forward to next season with the return of Maggie Heffernan, the improvement of current members and the addition of some new faces on the team.

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