For the first time as a college athlete, junior Corrin Van Lanen was swimming the 100-yard backstroke. It's definitely not one of her favorite events and not one of her best.
But still, she won it easily.
In fact, she wins almost every time she gets in the pool for a dual-meet.
That, however, meant she would not swim in one of her three best events at the dual-meet. A swimmer is limited to four events at a dual-meet, and Van Lanen had already swam one, a relay.
But she didn't complain; she is willing to do whatever is needed for the team to win.
Van Lanen has been the best performer for the Bobcats the past two years and is closing in on Ohio records, but she knows the goal is for the team to perform its best. Van Lanen can't do that alone, so supporting her teammates is essential to Ohio performing its best at the Mid-American Conference Championships.
“For being as good as she is, she never puts herself ahead of people like she's never like 'I'm good' and anything like that,” head coach Rachel Komisarz-Baugh said.
The cliche of there being no I in team is thrown around in all sports, but most people want the team to perform its best while making sure they do well as individuals. Van Lanen isn't like that.
“I can't honestly tell you the last time I was like 'I'm doing this for me. I'm doing this just so I can win,' ” Van Lanen said. “That's not my personality, and that's just not how Rachel raised this team to have a mentality. You do it for the team, and that's why you do it."
Each swimmer and diver needs to perform her best for the team to have success, but for Komisarz-Baugh, the team score is more important than an individual's score.
When choosing what college to attend, Van Lanen looked at the record books to compare herself to the school’s best.
Before her junior year began, Van Lanen set lofty goals for the season, as she looked to break three university records.
Van Lanen is seven-hundredths of a second away from claiming the university record in the 50-yard freestyle. She set that time at the 2017 Mid-American Conference Championships, dropping half a second off that season’s best.
It is a larger time gap in the 100-yard freestyle for Van Lanen if she wants to break the record. She is 0.42 seconds back of current record holder Chelsea Bower, who set the record in 2009.
Last year at the MAC Championships, Van Lanen improved her time by 1.6 seconds, so if the same occurs again, she will be close to the record.
She could break the record in the 100-yard butterfly and still not finish first because she is 0.51 back of the school record but seven-tenths of a second behind the best in the MAC this year.
With some big time drops needed to break the records, even if she does not accomplish it this year, it is something that can motivate her going forward.
“I'm going to have to bust my butt just to get that time, but it’s a goal," Van Lanen said. "It’s something to work toward."
Success is not something new to Van Lanen, who is from Green Bay, Wisconsin. She was the Wisconsin state champion in the 100-yard butterfly during her sophomore year of high school.
She was not able to win that event again in her final two years of high school, which motivated her to improve when she came to college.
The times Van Lanen does not come in first place show that she is not invincible and must continue improving, Komisarz-Baugh said.
When Komisarz-Baugh was recruiting Van Lanen, she saw Van Lanen's potential in the pool.
Komisarz-Baugh knows the unique personality that an elite-level athlete must have. She won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics; she sees that in Van Lanen.
“I knew Corrin had all the makings to be a fantastic athlete,” Komisarz-Baugh said. "I think you're still going to see some pretty substantial time drops from her.”
By the time Van Lanen is done with her four years, she could hold a number of records and be regarded as one of the best swimmers in Ohio history.
“I don't want to put pressure on her, but you know she definitely has the makings of being really special in the history of OU and potentially at the NCAA," Komisarz-Baugh said.