Star Swimmer leads in and out of the pool: Senior Pielka’s success had helped her lead her team by example

Epke Paquette, Herald Reporter

In the water, senior Gabi Pielka is a top-tier swimmer.

Pielka, who is a consistent high scorer and top finisher for the Hawks, started swimming when she was 4 years old. In her hometown of Mahwah, N.J., she joined a summer league where she learned strokes and dives. She has since continued to excel at the sport, swimming for her high school team in addition to her club team during all four years of high school.

“Swimming is my stress relief from school and it’s there for all aspects of life,” Pielka said. “I think I’d be a very different person without it.”

Since coming to RWU, Pielka said her experience swimming for the Hawks has been fantastically successful, both in and out of the water. The most prominent contributing factor to this success has been the support.

“We’re a very supportive team. ‘Family business’ is a big quote that we use,” Pielka said. “If there’s a Hawk in the water, there’s always someone at the end of the lane cheering. That’s what we’re all about.”

“I’ve gone through some of the toughest experiences in college with my teammates. They’re my closest friends. Everyone is always there for you. We’re a very tightly knit family,” she said.

In her final year swimming for Roger, Pielka was voted captain by her teammates. As a leader, she works to maintain the supportive mindset of the team, as well as the family-like chemistry between the swimmers.

“I don’t try and be different from anyone else, I don’t try and put myself above anyone else,” Pielka said, when asked about her leadership style on the team. “I just try to be there for people who need it and set an example for other swimmers. I help the freshmen adjust with the high school to college transition and just overall support everyone.”

“My favorite thing about swimming is just supporting everyone, being there and cheering the team on, which is how I choose to lead,” she said.