Men's swimming team members launch from the starting blocks during the Tommie Relays, the first intercollegiate meet in the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex aquatic center October 30, 2010.

Tommie Traditions: Swim Teams Pool Together for an Hour of Power

Every November for the past decade, St. Thomas swimmers have participated in the Hour of Power Relay for Sarcoma Research to raise money for cancer research. The relay, started in 2006, is in honor of Ted Mullin, a Carleton College student and swimmer who died of synovial sarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer.

On Nov. 10 in the Anderson Aquatic Center, members of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, as well as other members of the community, swam in an hour-long relay. Sponsors of the event donate money to the Ted Mullin Fund, to be used for sarcoma research at the University of Chicago.

The swim teams collected donations at the event, which was open to the public.

Last year, according to St. Thomas men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Scott Blanchard, St. Thomas raised about $1,000. This year, if the school raises over $1,000, the University of Chicago will add $10,000 to the total donated to the Ted Mullin Fund.

About 280 schools participated in last year’s Hour of Power Relay. While it began with MIAC schools, the fundraiser has spread to include schools across the country.

Blanchard expected the relay at St. Thomas to draw more than 100 participants this year. He said St. Thomas is proud to have participated in the relay since its inception.

“We were one of the inaugural teams, so we take a lot of pride in coming to the event each year, being excited about fighting cancer and doing what we can to contribute to that fight in our own small way,” Blanchard said.

Senior men’s swimming and diving team member Jack Hiniker said he’s had a “blast” helping organize the event. Hiniker, who has reached out to potential sponsors, said that because the event started in the MIAC, there is a special feeling of solidarity among swimming and diving teams in the area.

“It really does make a difference at the end of the day, when you’re able to not only get a bunch of people excited about something like fighting against cancer, but raise a pretty sizable amount of money,” Hiniker said. “That’s something that I think St. Thomas is all about. I love the event. I think it embodies the character and the mission statement of St. Thomas exceptionally well.”