Panthers Unleashed: Captain's Corner

Photos by Larry Newman
Photos by Larry Newman

As it starts to cool down and we go from an 80-degree fall to a 70-degree winter, Chapman winter sports are just beginning to heat up. With exciting new and returning talent on both the basketball and swim and dive teams we have some promising seasons ahead of us. Although we are not planning on a lot of rain here in Southern California, we are planning on reigning in some championship titles come spring time.

We talked to captains from each team to get an idea of what being a team leader entails and to get a peek into how the season has kicked off so far. The captains we talked to were Mary Welton (swim and dive), Luke Selway (men's basketball), and Jaime Hum-Nishikado (women's basketball).

Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a captain?

JHN: Right now there are some problems with communication, not everyone is talking. That is to be expected since half the team is newcomers and they are shy. The hardest part has been getting everyone to talk every day.

MW: I think having a team of 60 people is really hard. One of the biggest challenges is having a swim and a dive team because they are two very different sports that are bunched into this one title. They practice at different times so it is really hard to get them at team functions and mesh together because we are never interacting much.

LS: The biggest challenge has been being the vocal leader. I have not always been the most vocal person on the team in the past so being one of the older guys it is my responsibility to speak up during team talks and get guys going during practices and games.

Q: How do you stay present and focused as a captain during finals?

JHN: Being a senior, I have gone through this whole process a few times now. I just really have to delegate my time and know that in practice I have to be fully present for my team and my coach. I try not to worry about all the papers and all of the tests that I have. If I do, then I won't have a good practice and that then leads to the team not having a good practice.

MW: It gets super crazy and I have really great co-captains, we share the responsibilities pretty equally so if I am really stressed out I know that I can go to the other two. I know that they will always help me out. We work really well together. I try to compartmentalize school, swim and all my stuff. 

LS: I think time management skills are extremely important during finals. I have to put a lot of time into basketball and being a student-athlete. Managing time is extremely important.

Q: What has been the most successful and rewarding accomplishment of the team so far?

JHN: So far we are 3-0, which is really exciting! It is a really good way to start off strong and sets us up to just continue playing well.

MW: This season, so far, we have had some really good freshman come in. One of our freshman boys has been breaking school records and we have a really fantastic distance swimmer girl that just came in, plus a bunch of good sprinters. I think that going into SCIAC championships in February we will have a really good team. Hopefully we can get third on the girl's side with our talent and depth this season.

LS: How well we are playing as a team. @ChapmanSports (Chapman Athletics official twitter) said that we scored more than 80 points in our first four games. We have been playing a lot of guys which shows that we all play really well together even though we have a bunch of new guys, freshman and transfers. We are off to a good start.

Q: Overall, how has early season prep gone?

JHN: Early season prep has been going really well. Since half of the team is new we have to teach them what we know, like what to do with our defense and offense. We are incorporating a lot of new stuff. It has been complicated and the coach has been taking a lot of time to break things down which is really good, it has been pretty great.

MW: Early season has been great, everyone is bonding and getting along very well.

LS: Before our conference games we are 4-0 so that's a good start, our coaches have been getting us prepared for games with game plans and letting us know exactly what each player on the team does. Our pre-game preparation is really good.

Q: What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome as a captain so far?

JHN: In the beginning we were not so good on our defense. We press the entire game so that's just a hard concept to teach because it kind of depends on whatever happens on the court. It is more instinct. It has been looking really good lately though and we have been effective in games.

MW: Right now, we have only morning practice, 6-8 a.m. every day. Those are a little difficult but we get through them, we play music on the pool deck to get everyone awake and ready to go. I think, as a team, having morning practices makes it really hard to get motivated and get up at 5:30, put a suit on, and jump in the cold water.

LS: We have had a lot of away games, playing on the road is definitely harder than playing at home but I think that we have done well.

By Chloe DeVries

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