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Standout swimmers combine for four first-place finishes in duals

Gilley ’14 and Mayfield ’16 notch two victories apiece against crosstown rivals

Aside from both being in the pool, Paige Gilley ’14 and Cory Mayfield ’16 play different roles for Brown’s swimming teams. Gilley is a sprinter, competing in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke competitions. Mayfield is a long-distance swimmer, specializing in the 1650-yard and 1000-meter freestyle events. After impressive performances against Providence College Jan. 4, Gilley and Mayfield earned ECAC New England Swimmer and Diver of the Week honors. Now, the two swimmers are gearing up for their last few conference meets before the Ivy League Championships at Harvard.


Paige Gilley


You are now in the heart of your season. How has the season progressed for you and for the team?

It’s progressed really well. We have been here since Jan. 2 — putting in a lot of work. We swam really well at the beginning of the season (and were) kind of tired at the end.


What has been the mentality of the team and the coaching staff during winter session?

We all knew what we were here to do. We all came into it knowing what was going to happen and what energy we needed.


Your titles in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke helped you win the New England Swimmer of the Week Award. Are these your usual two events? What do you feel contributed most to your strong showing in both of these events?

I am a sprinter — sometimes (I) swim 100 free. It was a good week for us; we had a pretty good lineup against them. (We’re) good at knowing what you need to get done and getting it done.


How did you get into swimming and what has helped you have so much success in college? Are you a self-motivator or is there someone that helps you push your own limits?

I’ve been swimming since I was a little kid. I’m from California and they said I had a really good stroke. I got into it and I loved it. It has been exciting. Training gets more difficult ­— most exciting is being part of a team and contributing to it. The goal is to get the best time. Swimming is a really disciplined sport. You have to be self-motivated. You don’t want to let your teammates down.


This award is such a highlight of your season. What have been other high points of your season? 

The Princeton Invite — I swam really well there. I finaled in all of my events. ... The meet is longer and more teams compete. That was a really good meet for our team as a whole. Highlight: end of season, seeing what we can do. I cannot believe it’s almost over — my last real championship meet ever.


After such success, what successes do you hope to have for yourself and for the team in the final weeks of the season? 

Our team is really close­ — hoping to score well at Ivies. We want to score higher than we did last year­­ (and) have best times all around. Hopefully everyone will drop time. Keep positive attitudes, especially because it’s our pool.


You are a senior and this is your final season. What moments have defined your athletic experience at Brown, and what words would you give to your teammates, and future members of the team, for future years? 

Honestly, (the memories) all kind of blend together — competing and being with my teammates (and) knowing that you are helping your teammates. When you have put in a whole year of work for Ivies — those have been the highlights. I am really hoping that this last Ivy will be the best one. I would do it over again — it completely impacted who I am now. Being a part of the women’s swim team is the best experience, in my opinion.


Cory Mayfield 


You guys swept all 11 events against Providence. What do you think was the greatest contributing factor to this sweep?

We had a good meet getting back from break. Everybody was ready for Ivies.


What has been the energy of the team during winter session? Do you feel ready for the Ivy League season?

We had two tough dual meets. We had to go to UPenn this year (and we) had a tough meet there. We lost by 50 points. The energy is still positive.


Your success in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle helped you win the New England Swimmer of the Week — what an honor. Do you feel these two events are your strongest? What other events do you swim in?

The 500 is my strongest event. 200 IM is not one of my strongest.


Other events?

1000 freestyle and the 1650 (freestyle). I swim these at the Ivy Championships. I will swim the 1000 the next three weekends.


Strongest event?

Either the 1000 or the 1650.


How do you stay focused in the pool for so long?

(I think about) what is going on during the race. (I) don’t ever really get too sidetracked.


As a sophomore, you already have had such a huge impact on the team. What are your individual and team goals for the rest of the season and the rest of your time at Brown?

Individual goals are to place in the top three in Ivies for at least two of my events. Beat school records—the 1650 and 1000. I beat the 500 last year. Have a good showing at Ivies. It would be a big finish to finish in the top four. It will be close between us, Dartmouth and UPenn.


Long-term goals? 

I want to win Ivies at least once. I want to eventually qualify for the U.S. National team in open water — lake swims or ocean swims. I have been ninth before — (you) have to be in top six to qualify. During the summer, I swam at my club at home. I have to now start thinking about internships. I spent five to six hours a day in the water, pretty much everyday except Sunday.


How do you stick with swimming even with all the long hours and not get exhausted?

I think it is rewarding and I get to do a lot of cool things. I swam against the seven-time world champion. These things keep me coming back. I swam for the U.S. team in Canada — open water 10,000. (It was) part of the World Cup circuit.


What motivates you and what is the key to your progress and success? What kind of advice would you give to other athletes and swimmers in the heat of their seasons?

Just going in everyday and working hard — focusing. It’s crunch time, it’s a grind to be here for three weeks during winter session, but it’s worth it.


What do you feel is your biggest strength and what do you hope to improve for the upcoming Ivies?

(My) biggest strength is work ethic. I could improve race strategy and race planning. I had tough races last year at Ivies. That is something I could hone in on and refine.



These interviews have been condensed for clarity and length.


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