Ana Sortland

Class of 2019

What does the program mean to you?

The MSU swim and dive program the importance in being successful with what you are given. Your internal drive and the internal drive of those around you means and is much stronger than external assistance or perks. At MSU we hustled, got to work, and were successful even without some of the bells and whistles other programs have. This was a blessing in disguise. It taught me how to be resilient in life and made our successes so much more satisfying and 100% ours. In addition to the core values it taught me, it also gave me a home away from home and a connection to my school that I would not have had without swimming or my team. Having looked at other schools to swim at before deciding on MSU and hearing from other friends about their collegiate swimming career, further solidifies my pride in being an MSU swimmer. We were able to pursue our dreams at a B1G University while not making any academic sacrifices, there are very few if any programs that I have encountered that offer those two together. Being apart of a team that practiced such excellence, in and out of the pool, pushed me to become a better version of myself. I would not have the career or self awareness that I have now without MSU swim and dive and the people and experiences I encountered along the way. I love this program, and my love for MSU is not the same given the decision to remove support for this program.

Why did you choose MSU?

As I said above, I chose MSU because I KNEW with great confidence that I could experience a B1G school, compete SUCCESSFULLY at a B1G level, all the while pursuing an Engineering degree. At MANY schools, most sports programs give you a list of degrees that their athletes are discouraged from pursuing because it would take away from their training. I did not have to make that choice, nor did I ever feel that my swimming career or my academic performance suffered as a result of my commitment to the other. The team and the coaches do not expect anything less even though we are obviously given less. And while this might deter some athletes, I knew it would attract the ones that truly loved this sport while striving for academic excellence. The support I felt the team had for one another was contagious and stronger than I had ever experienced, making it impossible to want to go anywhere else. Even after I committed and trained at MSU, I was fortunate to feel the same because Coach G didn't put on a "special show" or give us empty promises to get us to come to MSU. What we saw was only a fraction of what we got, versus the opposite that most programs do. Which again, attracted only TRUE MSU SPARTANS. The ones who wanted to be there were the ones that showed up regardless which made the experience of being a Spartan so much more organic, authentic, and rewarding.

Biggest life-lesson you are learning/learned from MSU?

You will not get any better focusing on what others have or what others are doing "better." Staying in your lane and hustling is the best, and only, thing you have control of. And when you have a community of individuals that practice the same mentality, there is nothing holding them back. Additionally, never take what experience you have for granted. View challenges as happening FOR you not TO you. When I was a freshman, I broke my ankle 2 weeks before B1Gs. I swam, thinking it was only a sprain, to find out I competed at by first B1Gs on a spiral fracture that should have been surgically corrected. This taught me that my career could change in a split second so I worked to take every chance I had to "show up." It also showed me that when those things happen, you have to view it as a chance to get better, tougher, and grow. I would not have been able to do that, or come out on the other side, making finals at B1Gs my junior and senior year and setting school records, if I didn't have my team or coaches placing so much value in the heart and hustle.