Twining inspires swimming and diving teams

Bailey Johnston, Staff Writer

‘STrong’, is a word that has many meanings with the UW-Whitewater swimming and diving team.

It is a word that resembles the tenderness of life, being strong for your teammates and family as defined by the team.

“‘STrong’, to me, means giving yourself the strength to push to be the best version of yourself every day because I really think that’s what Spencer did, not only in the pool, but academically as well,” senior swimmer Margaret Lotzer said.

On Sept. 11 of last year, the swimming and diving team got the news, news they never expected to encounter. This was the day they lost Spencer Twinning, a teammate, friend and brother, due to a motorcycle accident in
Waukesha County.

“It was something the whole team went through together,” junior teammate, Andrew
Langenhahn said.

This incident not only opened the eyes of many teammates, but it also gave them a new purpose to compete at their highest level.

“Some people took it differently,” sophomore teammate Jarrett Malizio said. “It was extra motivation because we not only had to be strong for ourselves, but for
our teammates.”

Twinning swam the breaststroke for the team. He was known, by his teammates, as someone who was always there to pick everyone up with his humor during
tough practices.

“He was always in a good mood,” Langenhahn said. “Even during the hardest workouts, he would be cracking jokes.”

But this wasn’t the end of Twinning’s influence. He continued to make an impact on the team’s performances during meets. The ’Hawks finished the season out ‘STrong’ with both the men’s and women’s taking third overall at the WIAC in Brown Deer, Wisconsin.

Although Twinning was not there physically, the team said he was there in every
swimmer’s heart.

Sophomore Melanie Carlson felt his presence when she took the top of the podium at
the Championships.

“It was surreal,” Carlson said. “It was definitely rewarding. It was rewarding not only just for me, but knowing that I helped the team. In the long run, he would have wanted us to work harder for him.

Twining’s ‘STrong’ flag was hung up during the WIAC Championships as extra motivation.

Twinning’s loss brought the team closer together and gave the squad the opportunity to be more than just teammates, but a family.

“I think it was something that brought people together,” Lotzer said. “It taught people how precious life can be and to appreciate the people around you.”

The ’Hawks plan to continue the team’s success by carrying Twinning’s great attitude throughout the seasons to come while staying Twinning, ‘STrong.’

As Twinning would say, “knock em’ down!”