• Athletics
Big Red Profile: Amelia Devine ‘21

Ashley Cohen ‘22
Amelia Devine ‘21 has been a spirited and tenacious member of the Lawrenceville swim team since she joined the community as a Third Former. A captain this year, Devine leads the team with grace, hoping that all team-members will get the most out of this unprecedented virtual season.

Ashley Cohen: When and how did you first get involved with swimming?
Amelia Devine
: When we joined our local swim club, my parents wanted to make sure I learned about water safety, so I joined a summer swim team when I was eight years old. I loved it and enrolled in a club team shortly after. By my freshman year of high school, I split time between a club team and my school team, which became a bit difficult with irregular scheduling. I liked the intensity of my club but the spirit of my school. When I joined the Lawrenceville community as a new Third Former, I found the perfect combination of intensity and spirit on the swim team that I wasn’t able to find the previous year.

AC: What events do you participate in, and why do you like them?
: I mainly swim the 100-yard backstroke. It’s always been my favorite event. But I would definitely say I’m flexible -- I’m happy to swim whatever events the coaches assign me. I also swim the 200-yard freestyle, which is challenging for its calculated pacing. 

AC: What is your favorite part about swimming?
: My favorite part about swimming is the payoff of your discipline. You have to put in a lot of hard work at the beginning, and at times, it’s really difficult, both physically and emotionally. But at the end of the season, when you start tapering and suiting up for bigger state meets, you see all of your work paying off and your tangible improvements. It’s so amazing to see everyone dropping time and the team as a unit being better than it was at the beginning of the season.

AC: What is your favorite Lawrenceville swimming tradition?
: My favorite Lawrenceville swimming tradition happens during the State Meet. The boys’ and girls’ meets are on different days, so we pair up boys and girls from both teams. The girls make a shirt for their partner on the boys’ team, and we go support and cheer for that person, as well as the rest of the boys’ team. Then, the boys paint their chests for the girls’ meet. It’s always nice to know that you have that one person cheering for you, even though the whole team is; I like having my “State buddy.”

AC: What has been the highlight of your time swimming at Lawrenceville?
: I had been going to the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championship since eighth grade, and last year was the first time I finalled in the 100-yard backstroke. That was really exciting. I broke the target time I had been aiming for, and it was a really great barrier to overcome. Another really memorable moment of my swim career was when we won the State Meet last year. It was the first time the girls had won in over ten years, and it represented a huge accomplishment for our team. We all worked so hard throughout the season to contribute to that win, and it was a really special moment.

AC: How do you balance your athletic and academic careers? Do you have any advice for other student-athletes?
: Sports don’t really feel like an interference with my academic life; instead, they’re a booster. I think the routine of school, sports, dinner, and then homework helps me compartmentalize my day. I can focus on one aspect of my life at a time. Some advice I have for other student-athletes is to never forget the long-term goal. It’s easy to get caught up in failures, academically or athletically, but that’s part of progress over time. Sometimes there are hiccups along the way, but at the end of the term, I promise you’ll see that you’ve learned so much both in the classroom and in the pool, on the field, or on the ice. I’d also say to be grateful for the time with your teammates. Soon enough, high school sports will end. Having lost my swim season this year, I would give anything to go back to practice. Make sure you enjoy it.

AC: How is the team adjusting to the remote winter term? Are you training asynchronously?
: One problem that we have with virtual swim training is that not everyone has access to pools, and if they do, it’s not always safe for them to use that pool. As a team, we’re pretty divided in terms of what we’re doing to stay in shape. So, our Zoom team meetings are more focused on team bonding than athletics. This year, everyone is mixed together in a way that we wouldn’t be in the normal season; we don’t have A, B, boys’, or girls’ teams. We have the unique opportunity for everyone to get to know one another, regardless of swim level. We’re having events, like hosting speakers who swam at Lawrenceville and following “Yoga for Swimmers” videos. The idea is that we’re training asynchronously on our own plans but then coming back together to spend time as a team.

AC: As a Fifth Former, how does it feel to be in your last year on the team?
: Learning that winter term was online this year was difficult because I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to fully be a senior, or a captain, on the team. I know I’ll be leaving the team in good hands, and I hope that future generations will get to have the amazing experiences that my grade was so lucky to have during the normal season. I’ll be back to watch some meets in the future!

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.