When nobody else wanted to or could not do the long distance events, she stepped in and filled the void for the team. She is a force to be reckoned with when she practices and will be a continued addition of stability to the swim team.
For Melissa Bardowell, 20, a sophomore majoring in computer information systems, this was a necessary step to help better her team.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Bardowell has always been encouraged to do her best while maintaining a positive balance in her life.
Her typical day is an early practice session at the pool at 5.30 a.m. She then has classes from eight until noon, eats lunch, takes a short nap, returns to school for practice from 3-6 p.m. and finally, goes home to do her classwork and prepare for the next day.
“Being from a strict family, I had to have my priorities straight, so I know how to manage my time,” Bardowell said.
The distance swimmer has set several goals for the upcoming season. She plans to better her times for meets, contribute to helping her team win the Northeastern Conference and become more dominant in her events.
However, her main goal is to qualify for the 2004 Jamaica swimming and diving Olympic team, either as a single swimmer or as a relay member.
“Her work ethic is exceptional at practice. She comes every day to practice and she always tries to get better,” said second-year coach Mark Howell.
Bardowell believes she has room for improvement and shows modesty about being one of the shining stars of the swim team.
“My performance last year was average, but it’s in the past now and I’m looking toward the future.”The sophomore swimmer’s positive attitude has also been an inspiration to many of her teammates.”She gives off such a positive energy in the pool,” swimmer Jarlyn Johnson said. “She’s like an Energizer bunny. She may be tired and hurting but she still tries to do her best. A lot of us look up to her for the dedication.”
Bardowell believes Howell is one of the reasons for her non-stop attitude.
“[Howell] has done a lot for us. Things we didn’t think possible, he told us we could get it done. He has always given us encouragement to do better and we really appreciate it.”
With her determination and dedication towards the sport, coaches said Bardowell could only move forward.”Melissa is going to do very well,” Howell said. “She was adapting to the athlete’s life in college, but she has matured over the last year. In preparing for the season, she has been training during the summer. Her times will definitely improve, and I firmly believe she will pass whatever goals she has set for herself.”
Melissa Bridgewater, 21, is a junior public relations student from Nassau, Bahamas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org<