My name is Christopher Pfuhl and I am a senior on the William and Mary swim team. For me, Tribe swimming means uncompromising values, pursuit of excellence, and above all family. I have met some of the most driven and dedicated people I know through the program, and the opportunity to learn from them has made me the person I am today. I can say without hesitation that I wouldn’t be nearly as athletically or academically successful without the influence of these people in my life. They encouraged me to be the best I can in and out of the pool and I am forever grateful for them because of that.
Additionally, I have learned in my time on the team how to properly strive for excellence, not just in swimming, but in life as well. The moment I first stepped foot on our pool deck I found myself inspired by the coaches and swimmers by the way they pursued excellence. I found a team made of over fifty individuals working in unison to achieve one goal. Coaches took the time to bond with their swimmers and unconditionally supported them, not just in swimming, but in the pursuit of academic and professional goals as well. I found the same was true of my teammates. They took the time to get to know me and learn about what I wanted to achieve in my time at William and Mary and beyond, and they quickly became a crutch to lean on when I found myself struggling to realize my potential. When I found I was doubting myself, my teammates never gave up on me and encouraged me. They made me realize my potential in the sport of swimming and beyond and have never stopped pushing me to achieve excellence.
Above all the Tribe has been my second family. The relationships I have formed in my time here have been the most positive I have ever experienced. I found friends who are some of the most important people in my life. I found mentors who taught me what it means to be a part of the Tribe. And I found a team that embodies strength, resilience, and passion. Last year former head coach Matt Crispino wrote a letter to the Tribe on the eve of our CAA championship meet. In that letter he wrote “it doesn’t matter who you are, what year you are, male or female, leader or not, MVP or happy to be there — you can lead and you can make an impact. Sometimes the smallest gesture or the smallest thought can change someone else’s life.” This stuck out to me as I realized Tribe swimming embodies this sentiment. EVERYONE is crucial to our team. EVERYONE makes an impact. EVERYONE is important because without them Tribe swimming is nothing more then another collegiate sport’s program. But it’s so much more than that because the people of Tribe swimming are what make it special. No where else can I find a support system as caring, diverse, inspirational, and resilient as Tribe swimming. To take away this program is to tear that from current, former, and future members of Tribe swimming. Eliminating Tribe swimming will do nothing other than rob people of an opportunity to find where they belong — a place where they can grow, find life long friends, and learn what it is to be a member of the Tribe.