It may be a team sport, but swimming is also about individual success.

For Taconic's Gillian Campbell, it's about putting her head down and moving forward despite a team's lack of success on the scoreboard.

"I try and do the best for my team, but I also have to think about myself," she said, "and do what I can for myself too. It's nice getting points for my team."

Campbell did both this past week, winning three individual races in four events for the Braves. That performance earned her the Eagle's Player of the Week honor.

Swimming against New Lebanon last week, Campbell won the 100-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke. In a meet against Taconic Hills, she came through with a victory in the 200 freestyle, but was second in the 100 freestyle.

If you look at the standings every week, it has been kind of a rough year for the Taconic girls swim team. Heading into this week, the Braves were 1-8 overall. When you get down to it, however, that only tells part of the story.

In swimming, you compete against two foes -- the person or persons in the adjacent lanes, and the clock. The clock is normally the top opponent, because unlike basketball or football, defense is not played in the pool. It's all about going on offense.

"You know if you did your best time, it's easier" to handle a win or a loss, she said. "If you did bad, then it would be harder. It depends on how you do. That's how most people think about it."


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One of the advantages swimmers have over, say, basketball players is that despite a team's success or lack of success, the swimmers can move on to the postseason.

Campbell has qualified in three events for next month's Western Massachusetts championships at the Linkletter Natatorium on the Springfield College campus. Having qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke is a relief for Campbell. She is still looking to get better.

"I just want to get my times lower than [they are] right now," she said. "It's been frustrating trying to get my times down."

Campbell can swim every stroke, but she said she prefers the freestyle and backstroke events. The butterfly, not so much.

"They're the ones I'm best at, but freestyle is my favorite," she said. Her favorite is the 100.

"It's not too short and it's not too long," Campbell said. "It's not awful. I don't dread it. I enjoy swimming it."

Campbell said she hasn't done a 500 in a while, and she would be game for it.

Like most of her teammates and foes, Campbell can be seen on the pool deck listening to music.

"Oh, everything. I just listen. It's a mixture of all my music," she said. "I like country and hip-hop and all that."

Does it help?

"It gets my head focused," she said. "It makes me want it more."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman