The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

Seventh Times a Charm

Nathan Herde

Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. Seven every race, every meet, every season. For Rocco Velie, a sophomore on the Linfield men’s swim team, the ritual has never changed. Whenever the Washington native steps on the block, seven claps are heard around the poolhouse, one for each lane occupied by an opponent. Velie picked up the tradition after watching a high school teammate do it, one who is currently competing in Olympic trials.

Adopting part of your pre-game routine from someone you admire is not an uncommon practice for an athlete. Fortunately for Velie, he has not only been able to learn from other teammates, but someone who is a teammate, role model and a sibling all in one; his older sister.

Velie started swimming soon after his sister did. With just over a 2 year age gap between them, he was more than eager to follow in her footsteps, all the way to the Linfield swim team. While swimming competitively was not Velie’s idea to begin with, the swimmer knew it was a fit for him.

“It’s my first love and I can never get rid of it, I love it so much because I know that I’m good at it,” said Velie.

Photo of Velie competing in a swim meet (Nathan Herde)

While swimming is the only sport on Velie’s mind now, the athlete tried out a variety of sports throughout highschool, continuing soccer and cross country until the end of his highschool career.

Once looking at colleges came to the table, the sophomore had a tough time deciding.

Hailing from Kingston Wash., Velie had a similar college application to every other Washingtonian, turning in his applications for Washington State University and the University of Washington earlier than others.

However, Velie soon realized his crucial deciding factor for colleges was class size. “I didn’t want to be a small fish in a big fishbowl,” Velie said.

Along with the class size and swim program, Velie’s sister came in at a close third in his reasons for committing to Linfield. His older sister, Claudia, was the captain of the team his freshman year, and Velie was eager to follow in her footsteps.

While Claudia has since graduated, Rocco continues to follow her successes. Velie placed 3rd in conference in the 200 IM, the swimmers favorite because it is a “mixture of all four strokes and the perfect length”.

Velie has carried many things through the length of his athletic career, but one that has resonated with his greatly is something his highschool soccer coach told him, who once played for the Peruvian national team. “Cool mind warm heart is what he told me. It means to do whatever you do with passion, but stay rational and don’t try to get caught up with your feelings.”

Velie hopes to continue swimming after his collegiate career ends, as it is a wonderful way to stay in shape. In other plans for the future, Velie hopes to follow his exercise science degree, and to hopefully “give other people the luxury of a working body.”

Wherever his career takes him, Velie is hopeful for the next part of his life, and wishes for his legacy to echo all around him, the same way his claps do before each race.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Tori Schuller
Tori Schuller, News Editor
Tori is a junior political science and journalism double major. She is from Whidbey Island, Washington, and is on the golf team here at Linfield. In her free time, she loves to hike, paddle board, and go to concerts. She hopes to improve her journalism and writing skills from this experience on the Linfield Review. After graduating, she hopes to travel the world and spread the stories of every person she meets.
Nathan Herde
Nathan Herde, Photography Editor

Nathan is a senior from Tacoma, Wash., majoring in exercise science and minoring in math. He is also a member of the Linfield Swim Team and Residence Life. Nathan is passionate about photography, exercising, and finding your limits both physically and mentally.

Nathan seeks to use his experience at Linfield to spark further education in the field of Sports Science. He hopes to one day work in a research lab either for a university or athletic corporation, where his goal will be to find the limits of elite level athletes.

Comments (0)

All The Linfield Review Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *