Team Captain: Kayla Riemensperger

I recently got the chance to interview one of the current captains of the swim team, Kayla Riemensperger. She had a lot to say about her experience!

Her Campus: What made you decide to go out for the position of a team captain?

Kayla Riemensperger: I've always loved being a leader, especially when it comes to activities that I am passionate about, like swimming for example. I enjoy being able to help others out and being able to provide a sense of comfort for those needing guidance, which was an opportunity provided to me as a captain. Leadership means different things to different people; to me, I believe that leadership means exhibiting moral and ethical courage, while also setting a good example for those looking up to you. I don't think I can say the exact reason I wanted to be a captain; I just really wanted to be there for my teammates. That was what was important to me.

HC: What do you like about being a team captain?

KR: The thing that I most enjoyed was having the knowledge that I was helping make a difference in my teammates' experience during the season. I formed a ton of very close friendships over my time served as a captain. My teammates trusted confiding in me about the reality of how difficult college can be, especially if it's your first year. I cherished that trust that we formed from just spending time together. Honestly, to me, the title of captain doesn't really differentiate myself from the rest of the team. I just strive to care and support everyone that I care about, and if a leadership title comes with that, it's cool too, but I never treated it as though I were above anyone else. It's important for teams to cooperate and trust each other. I enjoyed letting everyone be their own leader, in their own way. It was also a fun perk to be in the middle during cheers too, haha! 

HC: What are the parts you dislike about being a captain; what was hard?

KR: Being in a position of leadership is not an easy task. Between the meetings with coaches and making time with your fellow teammates to check up on them, and, on top of that, balancing four classes, it's time consuming and hard work. I don't think I would say that I dislike it, but sometimes it can be a lot because as a leader you can't be selfish; you need to be ready to be able to devote time to those who need it. People might text you any hour of the day needing guidance, and you have to want to help them. If you don't, I believe that's neglecting your duties. By accepting the title of captain you are saying that you are willing to put your teammates before yourself. The hardest part about that is you often won't be acknowledged for what you do as a leader. You have to be able to handle that. You will more often than not do things that you most likely won't be thanked for. It's also hard because everyone on the team also has their own opinions so they may be mouthy about certain decisions you make, and there's not much you can do about it. You have to trust your gut and believe that you made the right decision while ignoring the negative things others might say. There's also the issue of not having everyone believe you deserve to be a captain; like I said, everyone has their own opinion, and you have to believe that you are in the position of power for a reason; I personally like the saying "prove them wrong." Prove to those who doubt you that you have what it takes to be a leader, because you will find yourself out of your comfort zone a lot. 

HC: How has being a team captain helped you grow?

KR: I've learned so much about leadership while serving as a captain. I've learned how to be more vocal and direct, and also how important personal connections are when leading. I like to lead by example, and I am often on the quiet side, but I am also no longer afraid to voice my opinion when I think something needs to be addressed. I used to let other people steamroll over me, but now I am not afraid to put my foot down. This year I found myself voicing my opinion during situations where I previously would've just sat back and kept my mouth shut. I've learned to stand behind the things I believe in. I also have made some everlasting friendships from how personal I was able to get with my teammates. 

HC: Where do you plan to take your swimming career?

KR: I honestly haven't thought too much about it; I love swimming, so I know that I would like to continue getting in and swimming laps every once in a while. As for a Masters program? I really don't know yet, because it will depend on when they practice and how much it would cost. I am not much of a morning person anymore, since I don't have to be (laughs). I would really like to get into doing triathlons and just learning more about living a healthy and active life. I certainly know that I'll still continue to workout every day, even if it won't always be a swim workout.