Former Toll Gate swimming standout Wenona Alexander was one of the most accomplished swimmers to come out of Warwick during her high school career, and is already making an impact for the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen this season.
Alexander earned numerous accolades for the Titans, and is already making her mark on the RIC team as she earned the Little East Conference Rookie Swimmer of the Week award last month, and recently qualified for the NEISDA Championships.
“It’s been great, definitely a change from what I was used to. I was on the Kent County YMCA club for the past 10 years and college is definitely different, but it has been really exciting and I feel that I have a lot of different avenues to go down to be more successful,” said Alexander, who admits that she is still adapting to the new level of competition. “YMCA is really competitive, but college, there’s something different. The girls are older, I’m going against girls that are a lot better than me and that are really fast which is pushing me to work even harder to get up at 5 in the morning and practice, and to go to the gym. It motivates because it is really competitive.”
Another change for Alexander has been her place on the club, now being one of the rookies versus being an established veteran.
“It is different going into these meets and barely knowing people. I know my teammates but I don’t know the other girls from the other colleges since I’m so new and am starting all over again. I feel like how I did when I was 8 years old on the Kent County team,” said Alexander, who has been excited to contribute so early in her collegiate career. “It’s really humbling, it makes me feel that all of my hard work and dedication that I have had throughout my entire career is really paying off. It feels great to be able to prove something and that I am capable of so much. I think what has made me successful is dedicating myself, and having the will power with something that I’m so passionate about.”
Alexander has also enjoyed competing so close to home, and has been thankful to swim alongside her former Toll Gate teammate Athena Sampalis, as well as her parents.
“I think this group has a massive amount of potential. I swam with Athena Sampalis in high school and she’s amazing, this group is so welcoming, this was an environment that I felt so comfortable in and felt like I could jump right in,” said Alexander. “My parents are so supportive, there are days where I don’t know how I could do it without them. When I don’t have that motivation, when I’m tired, when my school work is piling up, they always push me and remind me of the result that I want in the end and that all this pain and grit that I go through is going to be worth it.”
Overall, Alexander hopes to continue to improve her times, and further cement her place as one of the top swimmers to ever come out of Rhode Island.
“I feel like I have so much to prove. I want people to know who I am, I want people to come to our swim meets and know Wenona Alexander.”