“When you swim for McGill, it’s all about what you do for the team,” Katie Caldwell, captain of the Martlet Swimming team, said. “I really enjoy that […] aspect of […] having that whole team behind you and scoring points for your team.”
Caldwell has experienced a lot during her McGill career. She was the RSEQ Rookie-of-the-Year in the 2012-2013 season before enduring a frustrating and injury-riddled sophomore year. She rebounded in 2014-2015 as captain of the Martlets and led them to a strong showing at the 2015 CIS Nationals. McGill placed ninth out of 23 teams, with 12 personal-best times. Caldwell took home the Martlets’ only medal with a bronze in the 400m individual medley. Coach Peter Carpenter, per McGill Athletics, called it “one of the most courageous efforts I have ever been a part of,” given Katie’s past injuries.
Despite that adversity, Caldwell has stepped up as a captain, and has cherished the responsibility of leading this year.
“You take on more of a role in showing leadership and a positive attitude,” Caldwell said. “I have to be there for the team, […] especially for the newcomers—[to] show them that that they can be a part of this [amazing atmosphere] and that they [can] lead the team in a few years.”
It was this team atmosphere that helped her through the difficult 2013-2014 season, when Caldwell dealt with some of the worst injuries of her swimming career.
“They [would] put a smile on [my] face when it [was] a bad day or [I was] hurting,” Caldwell explained. “The team is like a second family.”
The junior’s injuries caused her to reevaluate her approach to swimming. She explained that she was putting too much pressure on herself to perform as a sophomore. Rather than placing this pressure on herself again, Caldwell sought to see what she could accomplish by trying to have fun again.
“This year, I [decided to] look at it as [I] did first year—[as] a new experience […] and [to] have fun with the team,” Caldwell said. “I ended up with a bronze medal, which was fantastic considering last year was nowhere close to where I wanted to be.”
Swimming runs like water in her family, and Caldwell began her career in the pool with Pacific Seas Wolves Swimming Club in British Columbia at the age of four.
“I was very involved because my sister was already swimming and when I was born we had a pool in our back yard,” Caldwell said.
Her older sister Hilary Caldwell, an Olympic swimmer, is someone Katie has had healthy competition with and looks up to in equal measure.
“[When] we hit the age where we both did similar events […] we got a bit competitive,” the younger Caldwell said. “It’s [gotten] to a stage where she has excelled [in her swimming career] and I […] focus on my studies more [….] Now it’s [more like] looking up to her and what she has accomplished and being proud of her.”
Out of the pool, Katie is a passionate International Development Studies student with minors in Education and Education Psychology. She sponsors a child in Cameroon and sees Africa as an exciting place of development.
“I have a big drive to go to Africa and […] be a part of the development over there,” she said. “After school, I want […] to get involved in something along those lines.”
McGill Tribune (MT): What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Katie Cladwell (KC): I am a bit of a picky eater and don’t like to try weird things. I have tried conch, which some people might not consider weird […] I was in Belize and I was told it was chicken, but it wasn’t.
MT: What TV shows are you watching at the moment?
KC: Too many. Some of my favourites are Suits—that just ended—and Game of Thrones. Another one is Sherlock. I like British TV, it has good humour which they can’t do in America.
MT: What toiletry would you be if you had to choose?
KC: That is a very odd question. I have never thought about that before. I was thinking about toothpaste because it feels so good when you brush your teeth and your mouth’s refreshed at the end of the day.