Outside the entrance to Haldeman Pool is a board that lists all of the Pomona-Pitzer swimming record holders. With one year still left in her career, Alex Lincoln ’14 already has her name on the board.
Lincoln swam in seven events at the 2013 SCIAC Championships in February, three individual and four relay, and set new Pomona-Pitzer records in all seven.
She earned three first-place finishes, defending her own title in the 200-yard freestyle and anchoring two winning relays, as well as four second-place finishes.
“I love being competitive and I definitely do race to win,” says Lincoln, a biology major from Palo Alto, Calif. “but my proudest and most memorable moments in the water aren’t necessarily the ones in which I won the race, they’re the ones where I crushed my best time. I love being able to shock myself with what I can do in the water.”
It was the second year in a row that Lincoln had a memorable performance at the SCIAC Championships. As a sophomore in 2012, she won the 200 when she came from behind on the final few strokes to win by four-hundredths of a second (approximately the length of one finger), and then duplicated the feat the next day in the 100, winning by only five-hundredths of a second after trailing coming down the homestretch.
This time around, in addition to her individual success, Lincoln has had the chance to see the program grow in the last year. A year ago in a dual meet against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Lincoln was the only Sagehen to win an event as the Athenas won easily. This year, Pomona-Pitzer battled right down to the end and lost just 152-146. When it was all over, the emotion of the 2013 season hit her hard. “The night after the last session of SCIACs I bawled my eyes out because I was so happy and impressed with what we had done over the season,” she says.
Racing sports require many hours and days of hard work, perfecting technique and building strength, to produce even the tiniest incremental improvement in times. Practices, Lincoln says, are a matter of “mental toughness and motivation.
But at meets, it really comes down to confidence. Seeing yourself swimming a best time and visualizing a win is surprisingly effective.”
Now Lincoln has one season left at Haldeman Pool. Although she has had a tremendous career already—including a SCIAC-winning stint with the women’s water polo team last year—she hopes to accomplish more as a senior. She narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships this year, finishing just two places shy of an invitation.
“I really do aim to enjoy the process, not just the end results at SCIACs,” Lincoln says. “That being said, I’ve been trying to make nationals for the past few years, so I would be so happy if I made NCAAs in any one of my events, particularly in a relay… Also, just as importantly, I want to continue to help the team grow into a conference-winning team.”
Of course, Lincoln’s contributions to the program have already been substantial. Just check the board outside Haldeman Pool. Her name is tough to miss.