The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point men’s swimming
and diving team won their 14th straight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference Championships this past month. Senior Joey Clapp is a big reason for
Clapp, the team captain, was part of three relay teams that
took first. He also won three individual events. The six wins add to an
outstanding career at UWSP.
Clapp has been honored as an All American 11 times and named
first team nine times. He has won 20 WIAC titles and was named MVP of the
swimming and diving team the past two seasons.
“It has been an exhilarating experience,” Clapp said. “I
achieved goals that I did not think were possible, and I couldn’t have achieved
them without the support from my coaches and teammates.”
Clapp has also performed in the classroom. This year he won
the WIAC Max Sparger Men’s Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete Award and has
been on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three times.
Al Boelk, head coach of the swimming and diving team, is
going to miss Clapp swimming for his team. “It has been a lot of fun working
with Joey over the years,” Boelk said.
Clapp is from Faribault, Minnesota. He came to UWSP
following his brother, Willie, who had just finished up his career at UWSP.
“I wanted to swim competitively, and my brother was a strong
influence on why I came here,” Clapp said. “The swim team here felt like a
family that I wanted to be a part of. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of my
future teammates while watching my brother compete at meets.”
Clapp’s success was not without hard work. When he came to
UWSP, he had never participated in a real weight-lifting program.
“I came in very thin. I didn’t know much about lifting or
how to train in swimming at a high level,” Clapp said. “Lifting weights has
been a huge part of my success in swimming.”
Four years of swimming has also proved to test Clapp’s
ability to stay healthy. “I have had my ups and downs, and my biggest problem
was staying healthy,” Clapp said.
However, his ability to overcome his injuries in the sport
is a big reason for his accomplishments.
“Joey has had some pretty serious shoulder issues over the
years, and it staggers me how he minimized his problems and just dealt with
them on a daily basis,” Boelk said.
Boelk said that he is impressed with the continued hunger
Clapp possess for swimming. “It makes me happy to see him still passionate
about the sport after all these years,” Boelk said.
“A career in swimming can burn out the strongest of minds.
It can be a grueling sport psychologically, simply due to the intense training
volumes and season lengths.”
So what’s next for Clapp? After competing at the NCAA
Division III championships in late March, Clapp plans on joining the coaching
His career isn’t over yet. He still has one more meet to
cherish in his career at UWSP. “I will miss competition the most. I will also
miss the camaraderie and being a part of the relays,” Clapp said.