Senior Spotlight: Hannah Subramaniam (Women’s Swimming & Diving)

Name: Hannah Subramaniam
Sport: Women’s Swimming & Diving
Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
Major: Neuroscience

Why did you choose UChicago?
I chose the University of Chicago because it is a top-tier academic institution with world-class facilities, research opportunities, and faculty, and the swimming & diving team is consistently ranked among the top-10 NCAA Division III programs in the country.

Favorite moment of your UChicago athletic career?
​​During my second-year, our bus broke down on the way to WashU, and even though it was past midnight and below freezing, we made the most of the situation and kept smiling through it all. Between getting snacks from the gas station, and playing games in the parking lot, we kept ourselves entertained for hours. At the time, the situation was less than ideal, but it is a fun moment to look back on!

Favorite team tradition/activity?
The men’s and women’s teams make fun posters for one another before our UAA conference and Midwest championship meets. It is exciting to see everyone’s creative poster ideas at the reveal, and the funny or embarrassing photos used to decorate the posters. And it puts everyone in a really positive mood leading up to championships!

What made you fall in love with your sport originally?
When I lived in London, swimming was required as part of our P.E. class. My teacher at the time was incredibly passionate about the sport, and it made me really excited to go to swim class every day. She always took extra time to correct our strokes, even if it took me 100+ reminders to learn how to flip-turn correctly. When we were given the option to continue swimming or switch to another sport, I had grown so attached to my coach that I stuck with it. And the rest, is history!

What lessons have you learned through competing in your sport that have stuck with you?
Even though many people think swimming is an individual sport, I have learned that I would never be able to succeed without the support of my team behind me. My best practices are those where I have a teammate in the lane next to me, helping me stay on pace and challenging me to do better. A swimmer is so much stronger as an athlete and as a person when they are supported by their teammates, and as a result, it makes our team stronger. As I leave the world of swimming, I am confident these lessons will stick with me in my professional life and help me adjust to whichever team I encounter next.

What advice would you give to your first-year teammates?
Make an effort to branch outside of your own sport. Go to other teams’ games, join WAA or Order of the C, or SAAC. The athletic community is so warm and welcoming, and I have made some incredible friends from other teams.

Favorite UChicago class that you learned the most from and why?
I took a class titled U.S. Health Policy and Politics which had students from Booth, Harris, Pritzker, the Divinity School, and a bunch of other graduate programs. It was safe to say that I felt a little out of my league, but the variety of students allowed for incredibly rich discussions. And ultimately, the class provided me with a lot of practical knowledge about the U.S. healthcare system and sparked my interest in public health, leading me to pursue a minor in health and society.

Which UChicago faculty or staff member made the greatest impact on you and why?
John, who works the omelet station at Baker. Thinking about getting one of his omelets for breakfast is the only thing that gets me through our 6 AM practices!

Favorite place on campus?
The Quad in the spring is always so lively and is a great place to do work in the sun!

Favorite thing to do in the city?
I love biking and walking on the Lakefront Trail, especially in the summer. Or trying new restaurants – there are so many different neighborhoods to explore.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I am not sure yet! Hopefully I will be attending medical school or entering the field of healthcare in some other capacity.

Outside of your current sport, which sport or activity do you feel like you would excel at the most?
I don’t have great hand-eye coordination (hence the swimming), and I believe most sports require that skill … so maybe a sport like track instead? But I would have to compete in the sprint events – once a sprinter always a sprinter!

Favorite Chicago restaurant?
Serai in Wicker Park.

Favorite place you’ve visited?

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