PLU’s Most Valuable First-year Swimmer Loves the Pool

By Rachel Althauser ’14

Starting on a backstroke event, Ruggles launches off the wall.

Watch out conference, Brian Ruggles is splashing his way to first place.

In the world of collegiate swimming it is common to have athletes who have dedicated their whole lives to their sport. Brian Ruggles, a first-year on the Pacific Lutheran University swim team, does not follow this stereotype. After only four years in the sport he has quickly taken the top spot at PLU.

With basketball shorts as his first suit, he has made the necessary transition to a speedo.  This swimmer is nothing if not dedicated.

Ruggles started swimming for his high school team during his first year, and there was no going back. The chlorine has lured him in, sending him into what he describes as his latest obsession.

“All I think about is swimming,” said Ruggles. “I have watched every swimming video on Youtube.”

The self inspired swimmer has learned how to feel the water, to think about how his body moves through its silky waves. And move he did, placing second in his 50-yard freestyle and first in his 100-yard freestyle at state competition his senior year.

Ruggles describes his first year at PLU by talking about his new teammates and how they have helped him survive his first semester.

“It is an ongoing two hour race everyday,” said senior swimmer Chase Mesford. Thanks to the new friendly competition, many of Ruggles fellow swimmers have been able to improve their own swimming.

Teammates predict school records and nationals cuts in his near future. It is inspirational to watch a swimmer with so much passion each day, making those long morning practices a little bit more rewarding.

“I really like inspiring people,” Ruggles said.

With a desire to inspire and better himself and his teammates, Ruggles said he strives to take the conference by storm.

Everyone out of the pool, Brian Ruggles is splashing his way to first place.

The PLU swim team went on a team retreat to Longbeach, Wash. Pictured here is Brian Ruggles with his teammates, Kina Akerman and Jacqui Gutierrez.

Categories: Other, Recreation, Student Life

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