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Joana Murphy staple member of swim team

By Lily Wageman

Section: Sports

November 6, 2015

The Brandeis swim and dive teams are well underway in their 2015-2016 season. The team is led by head coach Mike Kotch, assistant coach Eric Thurston and diving coach Charlotte Rea ’09. Fallon Bushee ’16, Theresa Gaffney ’16 (Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Brandeis Hoot) and Fay Laborio ’16 are the captains for the women’s team. While the team has no overall victories yet this season, the start of the season has brought many individual achievements. Joanna Murphy ’17, a distance freestyle swimmer won the 1000-yard in the first dual meet of the season, only adding to a list of impressive accomplishments in her collegiate swimming career. Murphy’s victory in October was not the first time the swimmer has made headlines for the Judges; last season she was recognized for placing in the UAA Swimming and Diving Championships. She was one of two scorers at the Championships for the women’s side, placing 15th overall in the 1650. The Hoot was fortunate enough to be able to conduct an email interview with Murphy, gaining insight to her life in and out of the pool.

Murphy says that she has always loved the water, since childhood. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to a new town with a fantastic swimming program, and her father encouraged her to try out. She was “all about it.” Currently a junior, Murphy is pursuing a major in Film with a double minor in Theater Arts and Social Justice and Social Policy. One of her favorite classes at Brandeis is one that she is taking this semester with Professor Nemon, Social Justice and Philanthropy. In this class, Murphy says that she is learning about the government and social problems that the United States faces, topics which she feels very passionately about. When she’s not in class or in the pool, Murphy partakes in a range of hobbies, from dancing to editing film, baking, reading—all with laughs in between. So how does a top athlete balance her academics, social life and swim career? According to Murphy, for her it’s a “week-to-week struggle to balance academics and school.” But her brother, with whom she is quite close, has just given her his Lokai Balance bracelet, a gift which she believes will “make all the difference.”

Some past accolades for Murphy include breaking two Brandeis distance records during her first year in the 2013-2014 season. Murphy broke the record in the 500 yard Freestyle, 1000 yard Freestyle during the UAA Swimming and Diving Championships of that season. Her win early this season was a nice surprise since Murphy said that she was not able to swim as much as she would have liked to over the summer and was happy to know that she could still help out the team. Her quick additions to the Judges’ record book have been a highlight of her collegiate swimming career. This season a major goal for Murphy is to place top eight at the NCAAs in the 1650. Although Murphy says that she has no pre-race rituals, two of her favorite athletes which she draws inspiration from and allow her to channel her competitive edge are Muhammad Ali and Ronda Rousey. Ultimately, Murphy loves the Brandeis community and the friends that she has made through it.

The Brandeis Swimming and Diving team has their next meet this Sunday, Nov. 8 in Worcester against Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Babson and Smith.

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