Renee Decker is a fourth-year student and a freestyle/backstroke swimmer on the Case Western Reserve University women’s swim team. Recently, at the University Athletic Association Championships, her relay team achieved a school record and NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 1:35.37 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. When she is not in the pool, you can find her studying for her chemical engineering classes or teaching students in Chemistry 111 and Engineering 225. She also enjoys watching television and being outside in her free time.
What is your favorite part of being on the swimming team? Why?
My favorite part of being on the team is knowing someone always has your back. We are such a large team but still remain very close, it’s like having extended family.
Where did you get your passion for swimming? Any good stories?
Honestly I started swimming when I was 7 years old because my older sister did. Then somehow along the 15 year journey it turned into an obsession. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that swimming is not a contact sport, I once accidentally gave someone a concussion during a meet warmup.
Do you have any meets that you remember being particularly special? Why?
I remember my high school district meet, anchoring the last 4×100 freestyle relay and coming up from behind to win the race. It was such an incredible feeling.
Aside from swimming, what else are you involved in on campus? Can you explain what you do?
I am the director of information for UPB [University Program Board] so I send out the newsletter and deal with a lot of internal logistics. I’m also a TA for both CHEM 111 and ENGR 225, I love being able to help teach other students.
Why are you majoring in chemical engineering? What interests you about it?
I chose chemical engineering for a multitude of reasons, but the main one was probably the breath of applications it can have. Anywhere from renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy … I’m sure the list could go on.
What do you hope to accomplish with the degree? What are your post graduate plans?
I hope to find a job doing something that I am passionate about. I don’t quite know what that is yet but as of now I really enjoyed my metallurgy internship so I believe I’m going to steer in that direction.
What are your favorite free time activities? Why?
I enjoy baking and watching “The Great British Baking Show,” as well as outdoor activities like hiking.
What is your favorite quote or what inspires you?
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
I think this is my favorite quote because there are always going to be those people that are naturally “good” at things, but no one should ever be better than you at hard work.