Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I always look back at my time at Harvard fondly. There was laughter with friends, English papers that I poured myself into, races in which I exceeded my goals, and thoughtful conversations with professors. In receiving this humbling honor and reflecting on my years at Harvard, I now see how these pixelated experiences converge on a grander scale into one cohesive image.
When I reflect on my Harvard experience, I appreciate the team victories I shared with my teammates and the fortune to also have individual athletic accomplishments. I will never forget hearing my teammates chanting for me as I prepared to start a race, seeing them cheering me on from the side of the pool as a long race neared completion, or celebrating together when we placed 11th at NCAAs or won our four conference titles. Those are all special memories that I cherish.
However, what strikes me most about Harvard is the transformative nature of the experience, and all of the people who contributed to that metamorphosis. I came to Harvard as a very sheltered and introverted kid from Southern California. I was fortunate to grow up with an incredible support system of my parents, my three older sisters (academic stars and swimming champions themselves), great coaches and teachers, and wonderful friends. Nonetheless, the transition into Harvard was a significant undertaking.
When I arrived at Harvard, I was greeted with an incredible network of teammates and coaches who happily took on the role as my mentors. Several of them taught me how to write a college-level paper. Dave Alpert taught me how to act like an adult. Marek Biegluk taught me to keep my wallet hidden when waiting for the subway and how to let loose. Jen Steffen showed me how to bench press and how to think beyond Harvard. Mike Kiedel taught me how to be a champion. Keith Frostad reminded me to stay true to myself. Dave Schwartz epitomized what it means to be an indomitable spirit. My coaches, Mike Chasson and Steve Kuster, pushed me to new levels of determination and athletic commitment, while appreciating the necessary balance with schoolwork. All of these folks laid the foundation for me to excel at Harvard—athletically, academically, and personally.
Once I planted my roots, I developed some incredible friendships. Mike Im and Will Oren started as freshmen when I was a sophomore, and they became better friends than I could have imagined. We spent many, many hours hanging out, playing video games, listening to music, and talking about life. They were first in line to celebrate successes and to buttress me to overcome challenges. So many others took me in like family. There were Thanksgivings with Brian Cadman’s family and Lillian Brown’s family. I had a slew of incredible roommates in Brian, Mike Kiedel, Nancy Jo, Kristy Cancro, and Dave Joffe. Before big meets, Adrienne Leight would sneak into to Adams House to poster our door with encouragement. I danced into the night with Kristin Hennings, Angie Peluse, Ana Cenanovic, and Liz Baxter. And each year, new teammates would extend that family of friends, folks like Mat Wrenshall, Michael Sabala, and Andrew McConnell, who challenged and inspired me with their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm. These friends pushed me every day just as they made me laugh.
All of those relationships and the thrill of competing were accompanied by the world’s finest education. These spheres were complementary. I would write and edit my papers in my mind during swim practice. While I was spending hours on end training and competing, I was also hurrying home to Adams House to discuss literature with Jamaica Kincaid over dinner. I was taking a small seminar on African American literature in which Henry Louis Gates prompted me to be more vocal by referring to me as his “shy brother.” I was an editor writing a column for The Harvard Crimson about being a student-athlete. And I was excitedly waiting to listen to Nelson Mandela speak in the Yard while playing Scrabble with several friends. It was a nerdy athlete’s paradise—and I didn’t get much sleep in trying to take in all the experience had to offer.
Individually, these memories and experiences are special and important; together, they represent my transformation into adulthood. Harvard is so special because it fosters an environment in which these experiences are all viewed as equally important and essential. I have total appreciation for all of the people who made that transformation possible, some of whom are listed above but many others who are not. I also have tremendous thanks for those who have kept my development progressing after Harvard: my classmates at The University of Michigan Law School, like Kristin Meister and Josh Ellison; my friends and colleagues I have met through the practice of law, like David Booher and Steven Milam; and, of course, my incredible husband Danny, who encourages and supports me every day.
Lastly, I want to give my special thanks to the Harvard Varsity Club for this tremendous honor, and for ensuring that these stories are told and that the tradition of excellence at Harvard continues to be celebrated.