Published December 11, 2013
Van Raaphorst, has memorable moments in and out of the pool
By Mark Vest firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Mark on Twitter.
One thing Albion College senior Claire Van Raaphorst isn’t likely to be accused of is having a boring college experience.
Aside from being a part of the Britons’ swimming and diving team, Van Raaphorst, who is an English and communication studies major, was given the opportunity to work as an intern for the Detroit Pistons in 2012, and last summer, she completed an internship for a start-up technology business in London, England.
Van Raaphorst, who swam for Rochester Hills Stoney Creek all four years of high school, lived in London for approximately two months, and while she was there to work on writing and editing business documents, she also ended up assisting the company in areas such as market research and computer programming.
“It was very interesting,” she said. “I worked for the Pistons the summer before, but this was different in the way that it was a foreign country, (and) I wasn’t living at home. I was working in a brand new office, in a field I wasn’t that familiar with. It was great, though. Being thrown into something you’re not familiar with helped me grow.
“I have been blessed to travel all over the world with my family, but that was the first time I was alone — really on my own — making decisions about cooking, where to go and traveling. It was eye-opening in that respect.”
After graduating from Stoney Creek, Van Raaphorst wanted to go to a college where she would have time to work at the school newspaper, “excel academically” and swim. She thought a smaller school would give her the best opportunity to do that, and after visiting the campus, she decided Albion would be a good fit.
Van Raaphorst has been on Albion’s swimming and diving team since her freshman year and was part of a relay squad that broke two school records. The camaraderie she has shared with her teammates has helped to provide her with some enjoyable experiences as a student-athlete at Albion.
“There’s more responsibilities that goes along with swimming in college,” she said. “Like keeping yourself healthy (and) making good choices. It’s kind of almost like having a job, but it also is more rewarding (because) I spend so much time with my teammates. They’re some of my closest friends on campus.
“I love swimming. It is the biggest stress relief for me, but I would not still be on the team if it weren’t for the people on it. We spend so much time together. I don’t even know what we talk about, but it’s so much fun.”
Van Raaphorst referenced support she has received from her family, as well as coaches from Stoney Creek and Albion, including Britons assistant coach Mary Ann Egnatuk.
While there may be some aspects of life after college she is looking forward to, Van Raaphorst has also considered what it is she will be giving up as a student-athlete.
“It’s like a bittersweet feeling,” she said. “I was reflecting on it a lot when I was in London. I couldn’t really swim in London (because) there wasn’t really pools available. I’ve been a year-round swimmer since I was 5, so it’s like, ‘I will never live this lifestyle again as a student-athlete.’
“Albion’s probably the best choice I could have made for myself for college. Between swimming, academics and my newspaper, every day has been a challenge and a gift. And so afterwards, being a real adult, I’m not looking forward to cooking, but I’m really excited to challenge myself in the work world.”
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