The credo of Hope College’s prestigious Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, it’s written on every cap and chanted during practices and meets. It stands for “As One Team.” And it’s a core commitment of unity in a sport that often involves being alone.
“We do everything together as a family,” Clay Hackley, a sophomore freestyler told the blog Swim Sam.
“It’s very important. We cheer ‘we get the job done.. As1!’”
Hackley produced a hype video of the Flying Dutchmen team that’s making its way around the internet. Just a hair over 1 minute, it encapsulates what’s so awesome about athletics at small colleges like Hope and Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities.
Tradition. Togetherness. Community. Excellence. Win or lose. As One.
Third place last year in the MIAA championships, the Hope program is hosting the championship in 2017. They’re led by Head Coach John Patnott, who for 38 years has overseen the college’s men’s and women’s team.
Through the years, the program has developed cherished traditions. A black flag with the letters “HMS” is carried to every meet. Freshmen get nicknames. They’re written on their white swimming and diving caps.
On the other side, of course, is As1.
“Any older swimmer on the team can, at any moment, take your cap and rub in dirt or anything to get it dirty. It’s sort of like a varsity jacket,” Hackley told the blog.
It’s an experience that simply isn’t replicated at big state schools. That’s because community is a way of life at Hope and Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities, which pride themselves on being purposefully different and helping students chart their own path.
Classes are taught by award-winning faculty, rather than TAs. An engaged network of professional alumni help students pursue their dreams. Class sizes are small. And students actually graduate in four years, rather than five or six at public schools.
And despite what you may have heard, the independents are often less expensive than big state schools.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.