This Saturday, Nov. 22, the Gustavus Women’s Swimming and Diving Team will be hosting the first Grace Goblirsch Invitational in memory of Grace Goblirsch who was a member of the swim team during the 2011-12 and 12-13 season. Goblirsch passed away from leukemia in 2013 before her junior year.
Goblirsh swam the breast stroke and was a strong distance swimmer and loved Gustavus and being a part of the swim team.
“She was always one of those super smiley, positive people and she loved swimming. Gustavus swimming was her life, that’s were her passion was,” former teammate of Goblirsch, Senior Gabe Gazzola said.
Everyone involved in Gustavus swimming saw and recognized the upbeat spirit and attitude of Goblirsch.
“Grace was an amazingly positive person. She was a hard worker, loved the sport of swimming, loved her teammates even more, and she meant the world to our team. She was a constant. You could always count on her being at every practice and seeing her smile. She exemplified the type of swimmer we want in our program,” Head Coach Jon Carlson said.
Her presence on the team lifted those around her to do their best and to work harder.
“She was highly motivating, highly encouraging, and beyond that, on and off the pool deck she had this contagious spirit,” Senior Breanna Schlegel said.
During her two years on the swim team, Goblirsch had a profound and lasting impact on the team and has become a source of inspiration in swimming and in everyday life as well.
“We adopted the moto ‘Race for Grace’ right after her diagnosis. It means that we were going to race for Grace in the pool and we also expanded that to our own lives, because Grace was driven in every aspect of her life. We were going to Race for Grace every meet we had, every race we had, but also every test we had, in our relationships, in our friendships, we were just going to give our best,” Schlegel said.
In addition to the motto “Race for Grace,” the team also embraced the idea of “One Team, One Family” to show their support for Goblirsch during her fight against cancer and even after she passed away.
“We knew when she was diagnosed that she was going through her own battle but we had her back, and I think also with this invitational it shows that it extends beyond us to the swimming community, the MIAC, and the Gustavus community,” Schlegel said.
For the Gustavus swim team the Grace Goblirsch Invitational is a way to honor and remember Goblirsch’s life and also her love for the sport of swimming.
“Grace loved to race. It seemed like a logical fit to have a meet in her honor and to enjoy our chance to race that day,” Carlson said.
“Grace was an amazingly positive person. She exemplified the type of swimmer we want in our program.”—Jon Carlson
“We do a 5K in the spring and we want to do another bone marrow drive, but specifically with this invitational I think it shows that cancer doesn’t just affect and individual; it affects families, teams, and communities. I think moving forward it’s not just about awareness but a celebration of the time we had with her and the time she spent with us. We’ve spent our fair share of time grieving the past two years, so I think this has a lot of weight for us as seniors who get to finish swimming for her the same way we started swimming with her four years ago,” Schlegel said.
Saturday’s invite will be an opportunity for the Gustavus swim program, the swimming community, and the Gustavus community to remember Grace and honor her legacy. The teams that will be participating in Saturday’s invite include Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Carthage College, and Morningside College.
“Even though she’s not here now she’s still a central part of the team, she connects us. She’s still in our hearts,” Gazzola said.