Amalie Fackenthal (left) swims laps with a teammate during training. (Photo courtesy of Fackenthal)

SCDS, alumni athletes try to stay in shape but struggle with motivation after canceled seasons

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, student and alumni athletes are unable to compete.

In fact, Stanford swimmer Amalie Fackenthal, ’18, said training is difficult. 

“I can’t get into a pool and swim anywhere, and I haven’t been able to for the past three weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without swimming since I was 10 years old,” Fackenthal, a sophomore All-American, said in early April. “I was feeling pretty burnt out from the season, and it was a nice break at first.”

Fackenthal said she has had to find new ways to stay active.

“I started to take up running,” Fackenthal said. “The satisfaction of doing something athletic to maintain my stamina and keep me in shape has helped take away the weirdness of not being in the  pool all the time.”

Moreover, the Stanford swimmers’ fitness coach sends them home workouts. 

However, Fackenthal said she has much less motivation. 

“In the foreseeable future, I have nothing to compete for,” Fackenthal said. “And without my teammates, coaches and support, it’s much harder to stay motivated.”

“In the foreseeable future, I have nothing to compete for. And without my teammates, coaches and support, it’s much harder to stay motivated.”

— Amalie Fackenthal

Fackenthal also expressed her disappointment at missing the rest of the season. The Stanford women, who have won the last three NCAA Division I titles, extended their winning streak to 37 consecutive dual meets before the season was halted in March.

“It feels like we put in all of this hard work and trained every day just for it to lead to nothing,” Fackenthal said. 

However, she added her past training still has benefits. 

“I think it is important to keep the mindset that it wasn’t all for nothing. We still got a lot of training in, and we will be even better prepared for next season.”

Fackenthal expressed her anticipation for next season. 

“We have a really good freshman class coming in and some returning people that redshirted (skipped a year of sports to extend their eligibility for an extra year) last year,” Fackenthal said. “Although we didn’t get to finish the season off with our seniors how we wanted, next season is definitely going to be exciting.”

Senior Jackson Crawford, meanwhile, won the golf team’s season-opening tournament on March 9 at Haggin Oaks before the season was cut short. 

“I got off to a good start and was looking forward to hopefully being one of the top players in the league and being able to move on to the Masters tournament in Stockton,” Crawford said. “If I played well in that and other big tournaments, I could have moved onto NorCals or states.” 

Crawford said he also has lost motivation. 

“The course near my house is open just to play through, but it is almost always fully booked,” Crawford said. “It is hard for me to find the motivation to play because I’m not being recruited, and my window of opportunity to produce some results in tournaments was really small. Now it has been shortened even more.” 

Crawford had hoped to play in as many tournaments as possible this spring and summer.

Crawford said he’s unsure if he wants to try to play in college. 

“I’m kind of fifty-fifty on it because it is going to be difficult,” he said. “With seniors’ eligibility extended until next season and freshmen being recruited, the chance that I have to walk on and play is very slim because there are only nine-man teams. At this point, the reality is that I have to spend the next 18 months playing in tournaments and practicing all the time to even have a chance of playing in college.”

Crawford added that he will miss the competition if he doesn’t play collegiate golf. 

“It is less about missing golf because I still have access to it,” Crawford said. “I’m more jostling with the fact that I probably won’t be able to compete in college and what I am going to do to fill that void.” 

The baseball team’s season was canceled, disappointing sophomore shortstop Miles Morrow.

“I was super excited because I had a really good feeling about this season,” Morrow said. “Most of our team and some of our best players were seniors, so we won’t ever be able to play a season with them. Who knows if we will even have a team.”

Sophomore tennis captain Sanjana Anand said she felt similarly to Morrow.

“I was super disappointed because it was my first season as captain, and I wanted to end the season strong,” Anand said. “This has been our best season yet. We’ve been undefeated in our (four) matches, and it sucks that we couldn’t see it out.”

Anand added that she can’t practice, either.

“The racket club that I practice at is closed because of the coronavirus,”  Anand said. “I have been working out to keep up my stamina, but I still want to play, and it’s hard mentally to maintain my workouts because I’m getting really lazy.”

Anand said she is still looking forward to next season.

“No player is a senior this year, so hopefully next year we can come back and win sections,” Anand said.

— By Arjin Claire

Originally published in the April 28 edition of the Octagon.