by Cerwin D. Haynes
We've decided to start a mini-series called "Ask A Husky" where we check in on some of our student-athletes and coaches to see how they're handling themselves during this time where the sports world is on pause. Our first guest is Swimming team captain Ruby Gaeta - you may remember her as the young lady who directed men's basketball head coach John Mosley to his pie-in-the-face moment back in January:
On to some Q & A with Ms. Gaeta:
- CDH: Before the shutdown occurred with all sports, swim & dive had completed its first month of action. Talk about some of the goals you and your teammates had for yourselves before the stoppage occurred.
RG: Before the COVID-19 some goals I had for the team and myself was to improve the weakest team members. For this I would always be the last one during our drills. Due to personal experiences, I was overweight so I know the struggle of feeling weak and wanting to give up when things got hard. As i like to say "we are as strong as our weakest team member." All I ever wanted to do was to inspire and empower women to love their own skin.
CDH: Upon your being named one of the team captains, Coach Romero spoke highly of your work effort and your influence on your teammates. What inspires you to give your best when you're in the water?
RG: In all honesty I never expected to be named one of the captains. All I ever wanted to do was to swim and feel like I was flying. As i mentioned I know the feeling of wanting to give up so when I felt like I couldn't continue I would push my limits until I would be forced out of the pool by my coaches. Inspiration doesn't come one day to the next but what made me continue was seeing the improvement my team members had throughout our short lived season.
CDH: Why do you enjoy competitive swimming? What do you miss most about not being able to be in the pool right now?
RG: This question hits a nerve because I started my swimming career in high school - that's when I first fell in love with the water. Life took me through some turmoil, and after twelve years, I finally decided to take a swimming class with Coach Ramirez. Coach Ramirez was the one that helped me realize how much I have missed being in the water. When I first joined the class I couldn't complete a 25 yard lap without stopping.
CDH: We've seen pics and vids via social media of some student-athletes maintaining workout regimens during social distancing. How have you and your teammates managed yourselves physically?
RG: Coach Romero has been keen about checking in on us and as assignments she is giving us workouts during the week to complete. These workouts are equivalent to swimming and building up our endurance. It's been hard for me to keep my physical health and mental health in check because I lost my cousin to the COVID-19, so this puts my life in a different perspective.
CDH: How are you staying positive and resilient during this uncertain time?
RG: I am trying to stay positive for my kids and my household. This has been hard for everyone but there is a lot of pressure on me because I am a student athlete. Swimming is what kept me sane for most of the time: as soon as I drove into the parking lot and saw my girls waiting for me to walk into the pool, it [would make] my life a little less stressful.
- Fun fact: January 17th's "Pie the Head Coach Night" men's basketball promotion was actually Ruby's brainchild! As a student worker for the program, she convinced head coach John Mosley to "take one for the team" as long as the game's attendance goal was met and ELAC won that night. Nailed it on both ends.
- The sports calendar was suspended two weeks before ELAC Swim & Dive was set to host their March 27th meet. Ruby says the team was looking forward to peforming in front of a home crowd for the first time all season. "It would get really intense," says Gaeta of the meets. "You could feel the adrenaline rush as the swimmer would hit the water."