Over half of the Albion College student body participates in one of 23 varsity sports teams on campus. The college places an emphasis on competing at a high level in the NCAA Division III while also excelling each day in the classroom.
The vast number of student-athletes on campus have a multitude of backgrounds, including many unique players that often go unnoticed.
In order to truly appreciate all the student-athletes who make up Albion athletics, The Pleiad’s “Beyond the Spotlight” series features a different athlete and the impact they have had on campus.
Featured in this week’s “Beyond the Spotlight” is tennis player Namara Swillum, a junior from Tinley, Ill. Swillum is an international studies major with a concentration in African and Asian studies, a member of the Pretis M. Brown Honors Program and a member of Kappa Delta sorority.
Swillum started playing tennis during her freshman year of high school and wanted to continue playing in college, but she wasn’t sure how to make that happen. However, while applying to colleges, Swillum received an email from the Albion’s women’s’ head tennis coach, Kacie Zuck, and the assistant tennis coach, Alex Dowley, wondering if she was interested in continuing her tennis career.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to no matter what, stay positive because tennis is a very mental sport, and mental game is everything,” said Swillum.
Having a strong mental game is something that has helped Swillum get through some tough injuries, particularly injuries to her trapezius and sacrum.
“That has been something I have been really trying to promote for our team: To have a more positive attitude when facing other teams so we don’t give up halfway through the match,” said Swillum.
This is an attitude that Swillum applies to all aspects of tennis. When she first started playing at Albion, her trapezius wasn’t strong enough, and Swillum would have shoulder pain while serving and taking a back-handed swing at the ball. She had to alter how she played the sport as a result.
“For a long time, I had to switch up my playing style to take the weight of the ball off my body,” said Swillum. “What definitely helped was going to the athletic trainers’ office and doing the regiments.”
Swillum and the Britons will be starting their season on March 24 at Albion in a match against Anderson College.