Jan. 17, 2012
Columbus, Ohio -
With Senior Day fast approaching, OhioStateBuckeyes.com will take time the next two weeks to feature each Buckeye graduating this season. The senior members of the women's swimming and diving team will be recognized Saturday, January 21, at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in a dual meet vs. Michigan, while the men's seniors will follow Friday, January 27, at a home tri-meet featuring Big Ten foes Penn State and Michigan.
Over the last four years, Catherine Eitel has grown up a lot as a swimmer and as a person -- an observation she'll be the first to make.
"I've definitely grown a lot in so many positive ways. Swimming has really taught me how to buckle down and focus on something," Eitel said. "I feel like I have matured so much as a person, athlete and student with the help of Bill [Dorenkott], Stefanie [Williams] and all my teammates."
Eitel started her swimming career in preschool and continued competitively until suffering a shoulder injury in third grade. Quitting the sport altogether, it wasn't until her junior year of high school that she regained her passion for swimming and joined her school's team.
"Luckily I had a good enough junior and senior year of high school swimming to get recruited by Ohio State as a walk-on," Eitel said. "My first year [at Ohio State] I worked hard and got a lot better and have been on scholarship since."
Developing into a staple for the Buckeyes in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke, Eitel plans to continue swimming through the U.S. Olympic Trails in June. After that, Eitel will return to Ohio State to complete a fifth year of studies.
"She has big goals and big dreams," Ohio State head coach Bill Dorenkott said. "Catherine's just a tough kid. Inside she's a softy but she's pretty tough physically, mentally and emotionally. Her greatest attribute, or the one I appreciate the most, is her brutal honesty. She tells you exactly how it is."
While the coaching staff admires her own toughness and honesty, Eitel admires the toughness of another strong woman with the Ohio State program - associate head coach Stefanie Williams.
"Stefanie is just an incredible woman. She's so positive and knows how to push you," Eitel said. "Any time I have a problem with school, roommates or even my family, I can go to her because she's been there."
Along with Williams, Eitel also feels a strong connection with her fellow teammates graduating this season.
"I think we're really unique and a little out there as a class. We're all funny and interesting people in our own ways," Eitel said. "As a class, we bring a lot to the team in a lot of different ways. I wouldn't want to be in a class with any other people."