Sports Person of the Week
Carroll Swimming Some Solid Times with the Warriors
North Branford sophomore Spencer Carroll is turning in some quality performances as a member of the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op swim squad. (Photo courtesy of Spencer Carroll )
After watching her brother Brennan compete in the sport of swimming, Spencer Carroll decided to follow in his footsteps and become a swimmer herself. A sophomore at North Branford High School, Spencer is now a key member of the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op swimming and diving team.
As a youngster, Spencer was taking swim lessons when her brother’s coach Kate Moss encouraged her to try out for her club team. Spencer took up Moss’s offer and joined the Wallingford Dolphins. With her brother’s guidance, Spencer saw some success in the pool and started to take the sport seriously.
“I was always at the pool because of my brother. I always wanted to be like him and follow in his footsteps. It was him and his impression on swimming that got me into the sport,” Spencer says. “At the beginning, it was all fun for me. It didn’t become competitive until I turned nine. I stopped playing softball and basketball to focus on swimming more.”
Spencer spent two years with the Dolphins and then joined the Cheshire YMCA Sea Dogs at the age of nine. Spencer swam with the Sea Dogs until she was 15, then joined the Bulldog Swimming program in New Haven last summer. As she competed in more and more events with her various teams, Spencer met plenty of new people and saw her confidence as a swimmer start to grow.
“It really motivated me. I competed all throughout the country at different meets with all different competitors. I met a lot of people through the sport that are still my best friends now,” says Spencer. “It helped with my mental health, too. It helped me to be motivated with school and my confidence when I entered high school.”
As a freshman, Spencer signed up for the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op team that features athletes from East Haven, Guilford, North Branford, and North Haven. The Warriors are primarily a boys’ swim team, but Spencer is the lone female who competes for the squad.
Spencer also plays for North Branford girls’ volleyball team during the fall season. Since she does not participate in girls’ swimming in the fall, Spencer is eligible to compete for the boys’ team during the winter. As soon as she joined the Warriors, Spencer received a warm welcome from a group of teammates who continue to support her.
With all of her years competing at the club level, Spencer made a pretty smooth transition to the high school swimming circuit. In her freshman campaign, Spencer realized that swimming can help her in all aspects of life.
“It wasn’t too much of a difference, but it helped me realize how serious this sport was and how far it could really help me in life,” Spencer says. “It could help me in my job. It helps me with time management and communication with people.”
Now a sophomore, Spencer is making a big impact for the Warriors this year. In last week’s action, Spencer posted season-best times in both the 100 breaststroke (1:08.96) and the 100 butterfly (1:01.57). Following a long layoff due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Spencer is once again finding her stride in the water.
“My body is starting to get more into it. It’s starting to get back to normal. I’ve seen some personal bests for myself,” says Spencer. “It has helped me realize that I may not always be able to do things like this. It has made me more grateful for how many things I’m able to do physically.”
Head Coach Martha Phelan says that Spencer has proved a welcomed addition for the Warriors over the past two seasons. Phelan praises Spencer’s versatility as a swimmer and calls her a “major player” on the roster.
“Spencer is a major player in the team’s lineup. She is versatile in that she is competitive in the 200 IM, 100 butterfly, and 100 breast. Spencer has been crucial in our matchups where every point matters in securing a win,” Phelan says. “Spencer is fearless, and being the only female on the team has never been an issue. I’m grateful that Spencer chose to participate in the boys’ season, as she is an important member of our team.”
In addition to joining the Warriors as a freshman, Spencer also signed up to play volleyball for North Branford in her first year of high school. While volleyball and swimming are two completely different sports, Spencer feels that participating in each of them benefits her on the court, in the pool, and in general.
“It has really helped me with my teamwork,” says Spencer. “Volleyball has helped me in training with arm strength and leg strength. It has helped me become closer with teammates and understanding other people’s point of view.”
As she continues her career with the Warriors, Spencer is striving to keep swimming personal-best times, while helping the team. She’s also looking forward to making more friendships that will last a lifetime.
At the end of the day, Spencer loves being a competitive swimmer. Spencer takes great pride in trimming her times while participating in the sport on a year-round basis.
“I like the freedom of the sport. It was all dependent on me. I focused on my training personally. I didn’t have to focus on other things,” Spencer says. “I always loved the water and being in the water. I got to be in the water all year, where others don’t have that opportunity.”