Gillian Wagner is leading the Women’s Varsity Swim Team to success in the pool, both by competing in short distance races and by being a supportive teammate and role model. Wagner swims IM, meaning she trains for all short distance events including breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, and freestyle.
At the Colorado College meet on Oct. 28, Wagner took gold in the 100 meter free, overcoming the odds stacked against her. Wagner tore a labrum in her left shoulder freshmen year, which affects the connection between the shoulder and the bicep. After an intensive surgery, she worked on recovery, but unfortunately there were obstacles.
Wagner got 5 MRIs last year just to judge if she would need a follow up surgery or not. Though trainers determined that surgery was not required, Wagner needed to continue intensive physical therapy. Right now, Wagner is battling through an impingement in her shoulder, another complication of a torn labrum, which causes constant pain during exercise. To handle this, she meets with the trainer daily for at least in hour in addition to strength training and multiple hours of practice in the pool.
Hometown: Allen, TX
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Position: IM short distance
What made you choose Mines?
“I liked the swimming coach, and I liked the campus,” shared Wagner. What really pushed her over the edge to become an Oredigger was “the supportive environment of the team”. After seeing how close the varsity swim team was, Wagner said, “This is just where I wanted to go.”
What are some challenges of being a student athlete at Mines?
“Time,” stated Wagner bluntly. Especially with an injury to handle, Wagner sinks- at a minimum- 3 hours a day into training. “I have to be up early for practice, and I’m up later at night doing homework,” explained Wagner. “I lose most weekends because of meets,” she said, explaining that, “During conference we are gone for a whole week.” To handle all of this, Wagner stresses finding balance in her life.
What do you see your role on the team as?
“I would like to think I’ve been supportive,” expressed Wagner, “Especially because I can relate to anyone on the team who has injuries.”
Wagner shared that almost every night before a meet the girls’ team gets together and does something like watch a movie or make food” With most meets being on Saturday, the team relaxes together the night before, then wakes up and goes!
“We all usually go out to eat, then that evening we hang out together,” said Wagner. This constant team bonding and support just reinforces the strong team atmosphere that she saw when looking at Mines as a potential school. This support network is what enables the varsity swim team to excel year after year!
Favorite part about the team?
“It’s a very positive environment,” Wagner said with a smile.
Wagner shared that her parents are her role models. “They both went to Navy, so they are pretty strict, but really reasonable,” Wagner said. Wagner expressed that she wouldn’t be where she is today without her parents’ constant support. “I didn’t realize how close I was to them until I came to Mines- they are my best friends.”
Wagner is an avid camper, hiker, and skier in between homework, sleeping, and Netflix.