Maddy Holker ’16
How did you first get involved with swimming?
I started with lessons as a baby, but I first started swimming competitively when I was eight. I probably started because my mom also did it, and she just signed me up.
What would you say is your favorite part about swimming?
I think there are two sides. I would say the first is that I like the team aspect. We spend so much time together in the pool that you form bonds that you can’t really form anywhere else. And then [there’s] also the feeling you get when you’re at a meet and you’re behind the blocks competing with other people, [which is] is really fun. The competitive aspect is pretty good, too.
What events are you competing in this year?
My best events are in the butterfly, so this year I’m swimming the 50, 100 and 200 butterfly.
Has butterfly always been your top event?
I’ve always been a butterflier, at least since high school. I used to do some distance, but I haven’t really done any since.
What’s it like being the captain of a large team?
It brings challenges, but I have one other female captain and then two men’s team captains, and I think we all worked together really well this year.
What have your favorite experiences been with swimming at Williams?
I’d have to say winning NESCACs with the team this year. Just to be a senior on the team when that happened was really exciting. I feel like that’s a great way to end your career. And then also winning NESCACs my sophomore year after losing for the first time in, like, 13 years my freshman year was a pretty awesome experience. I think we broke the record number of points that had been scored at a NESCAC championship meet, and that was really exciting. And also it was at home.
Are there any traditions on the team that you’re really fond of?
I guess one of my favorite traditions is when we win NESCACs [and] we all jump in the pool with the coaches and have our final team meeting in the water with our warmup jackets on. I saw the men do that on Sunday night, which was fun to relive from a week ago.
What are some of your academic interests on campus?
I’m majoring in psychology and that was something that I didn’t come to Williams expecting to major in, but I fell in love with it after taking a couple of classes. Just last year, I took Art History 101 and 102 and I’m now wishing that I could’ve double majored. So by the time I graduate I’ll have taken six art history courses.
Has it been tough dealing with the consistently high expectations placed on the team to always do well at NESCACs?
I think that for us, it’s kind of been an interesting ride, especially for my class. My freshman year, we came in almost expecting to win NESCACs. I think looking back, losing the meet was almost good for us, because now, every year, we’ve known that it needs to be a fight if we are going to come out on top. It’s got to be a battle.
Did you play any other sports in high school?
I played lacrosse. It was a nice contrast to swimming because it’s much more of a team sport throughout all phases of the competition. At Williams, I’ve dabbled in JV lacrosse which is definitely a chill but fun activity.
Do you have any other interests on campus?
I’m one of the co-presidents of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) this year, and I’ve been involved in that since my sophomore year. I’m also a neighborhood director.
What it’s like being on SAAC?
For me, it’s been such a good experience because we collaborate with all the other athletes on campus. It’s really easy to get sucked into your own sport and what’s going on there. Beyond that, we collaborate with the entire NESCAC, so we will have conference calls and in-person meetings with SAAC representatives from other schools, and that’s been really cool. We are kind of like a liaison to both athletes and to coaches and administration on campus.
What’s your favorite season here in Williamstown?
I think spring is awesome. The whole team is out of season and the weather is nice, so it’s great to just really enjoy it and have free time for the first time all year.
Are there any classes you are looking forward to?
I think the class I’m looking forward to the most is one about the Renaissance in Rome. It’s an art history class taught by this really awesome professor [Professor of Art Stefanie Solum], who actually went to my high school. She is one of my favorite professors that I’ve had here; she makes everything she teaches so interesting.
Over your four years here, what has been your favorite Winter Study course?
Sophomore year, I took a class on the CIA, and I’m, like, super into fiction on the CIA and undercover operations and what not, so to take a class with an ex-agent was pretty awesome.
So, last question: What is your top snack bar order after seven semeseters?
Definitely an order of nachos, ideally with goat cheese and caramelized onions.