Big 12 Campus Correspondent
It's early in the morning and snow is falling from the sky. There are 24 girls hesitant to jump in the pool but one. Many say that it only takes one person to lead and others will follow. This is evident with University of Kansas swimming and diving senior captain Joy Bunting.
Bunting understands that as a captain she has the responsibility of leading her team, motivating and getting the best out of each swimmer. Although not a vocal leader, Bunting chooses to lead her team by example and knows how to inspire and get the best out of every swimmer.
"I've been trying to bring quiet confidence, which might kind of sound different, but I think a lot of people get someone's loud personality confused with how confident they are. I think showing people how to be confident can be contagious, and I feel that is important," Bunting said.
Head Coach Clark Campbell is not shy about expressing how much of an asset his senior captain is to his program. He believes that Bunting is not just a great leader in the pool, but personifies the name "Joy." Every season the team gives out an award called the Karen Dionne Award, which is given to the student-athlete that exemplifies loving her sport and being the most inspirational teammate. Bunting has won this award three consecutive years.
"In this program we define leadership as two things: the first is leading by example and being a vocal leader. Joy is a great leader by example and is always making the right choices," Campbell said. "She has both the fundamental skills of being a good leader by example and a lot of that has to do with how she was brought up. The first thing Joy brings is her faith and she is very committed to being the best Christian she can be. She cares for each of her teammates. Her love of sport, her commitment to faith and knowing her teammates very well are the three things that really stand out to me."
Bunting is not only successful racing in the pool. She is also finding success out of the pool and in the classroom. A Greeley, Colo., native, Bunting has been named Academic All Big 12 First Team twice and was on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and Athletic Director's Honor Roll for fall 2009 and spring 2010. Although not an easy task, Bunting is able to find a balance between school and the pool.
"I try to balance my time and stay focused like every student-athlete here at KU. I try to make sure to use my time wisely and draw a balance between school and swimming," Bunting said.
Bunting has had to work hard for every grade she has received, but Campbell believes her hard work will pay off. Bunting understands that she can not just shine when competing, but has to carry over the success she has received in the classroom.
"She has to work for every grade she gets, and that is good. She is a product of how hard she works. She has been over a 3.0 each semester," Campbell said. "She loves leading the team in swimming and in school. She is not a slacker in the classroom but she has had to work really hard for every grade she has achieved."
Bunting attributes the success that she has achieved to her faith, coaches and teammates. Bunting is joyful about how her teammates have inspired and pushed her every day to be successful.
"My motto is 'to give glory to God in everything that I do,'" Bunting said. "My teammates and coaches are always there for me and they are key ingredients in my success. I think the main thing is that I always focus on is putting my teammates before myself. They are very important to me and I want them to be successful. I want to encourage them like they encourage and inspire me every day."
Bunting understands that her collegiate career is almost over, but will never forget the moments that she has shared with her teammates and at the University of Kansas. Although she is unsure of where she will be in the future, she will always be a Jayhawk.
"Some of the best moments I have had were with my teammates on training trips and when we went to the beach and spent quality time with each other," Bunting said."I could not think of a better place to compete and go to school than the University of Kansas. I think being a Jayhawk means a lot to me. It means being a part of a great program, supporting each other in everything that we do and being part of a great team."