Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Written By: Tom Higdon
Discipline, Leadership, and Unity are standards that West Point seniors Kevin Lin and Lauren Carag have grown accustomed to during their time at Army Swim and Dive. Both Lin and Carag are entering the latter half of their final season with the team and each believe that the last four years have been incredibly impactful both on their careers in the military and on their personal growth.
Lin, a strong freestyler who has begun to dip his toes into the IM waters in his final season, had Military service in his sights for some time before coming to West Point. He had looked at the other academies but after meeting the team the culture of Army Swim and Dive was something he fell in love with right away.
“It's something really special when you see 32 guys, all with different backgrounds, unite under one goal” said Lin. It was this unity that also gave Lin his greatest challenge as a leader. It was a challenge which he met with confidence and in the Twilight hours of his collegiate career he feels as though his time as captain was one of the most influential positions of his life.
“The end isn’t something I focus on too much but I believe I have done as much as I can for the Men’s program” says Lin.
The Challenge was equally rewarding for Carag, a talented backstroker and the Women’s captain. Carag’s military plans came into her vision later in her swimming career but she found that the regimented lifestyle of an elite swimmer lined up perfectly with the regimented lifestyle of the military.
Carag also quickly found her home amidst the culture of Army Swim and Dive and still maintains a connection with the swimmers who have graduated from the academy. For Carag it was how easily these connections were formed and how strong they have become that sets Army Swim and Dive apart from other teams. The men and women’s teams are a combined program and they often train together. Because of this family atmosphere, Carag finds her position as captain to have a more pure form of leadership.
“There's challenges that come with being a friend and a leader” says Carag “Communication is something that I have tried to build with the team.”
While this year marks the capstone for both Lin and Carag’s collegiate swim career, both have no intentions of leaving the water behind. Carag feels as though the structure the pool can bring is something she will never let go of and plans on continuing to swim in her free time. While Lin has not put much thought into what his swimming career will look like after graduation he won’t rule anything out and hopes to stay connected to the sport either through competition or coaching.
If there was anything that I took away from speaking with both of these cadets it's that they have been given all the tools necessary to be leaders in their field. After graduation, Both Kevin and Lauren will commission as Second Lieutenants for the US Army. Kevin will be going Signal Branch Detail Armor, while Lauren will Branch Signal. Both have made an impact on Army Swim and Dive as leaders and both will take with them a sense of drive and discipline that only the sport of swimming can offer.