Brady Chisholm – Lead Copy Editor
This week’s Gustie of the Week is legendary Norfield mid-distance swimmer and Junior Bryce Malecha, as well as an up-and-coming captain on the Gustavus Men’s Swim and Dive Team. Whether it’s ambitions in the pool or in the classroom, Bryce proves that Gusties really can do it all.
Bryce always does his absolute best to make sure his peers in the Gustie community feel included and welcomed. Bryce has felt a special connection and bond with his classmates and teammates right from the get-go as a freshman.
Bryce’s freshman year was the unfortunate year of COVID, which made a large impact on his year of firsts for college experiences. Bryce had this to say about those first two semesters: “It was a relatively easy process to make friends my freshman year…even though COVID wreaked havoc on my year, it really played a role in the daily dynamics of a college student.”
His sophomore year roommate (who’s a junior now) Grant Baker said, “I have never met someone who is as intentional building connections as Bryce. Every conversation that I have had [with him], you can see a deep level of care and compassion for me and this carries over to all people Bryce interacts with. Bryce is an amazing person and an even better friend that I am honored to know and be close with.”
Longtime teammate and good friend, Junior Peyton Richardson said, “Bryce is a good teammate and an even better friend. I have had the pleasure of being close friends with him since I’ve come to college. Everyone should consider themselves lucky if they ever find themselves in the presence of the King of Northfield.”
Although physical social distancing was in place, Bryce believes he was still able to form what are some of his closest friendships, many of which he maintains today. “It was hard to make social interactions, but through captains practice and swimming I was able to meet some of my teammates and built those good tight-knit friendships from there,” Bryce said.
Swimming is central to Bryce’s daily life, both in a social aspect and as an aspect of physical health. For him, it’s also a break from the cycle of school days. A time to take his mind completely out of the classroom for two hours and just swim. “[Swimming] fills time…it’s another thing to do, it’s a big outlet for me to have something aside from academics and have time with a lot of people I call my friends here at Gustavus. It makes it even better.”
Seeing as he is a Senior next year, Bryce will be inaugurated as a captain on the Gustavus Swim and Dive team. Although not a swim captain in high school, Bryce has had bountiful experience in leadership roles throughout his life. Being a captain next year he is, “…excited to have a leadership role next year…looking forward to leading by example not only to the other captains but also my teammates as well is important,” he said.
When asked about any goals he has as a captain next year, Bryce said, “It’ll be cool to see both the men and the women win the MIAC, any goal is attainable.”
Something else he is looking forward to facilitating as a captain is building “…a strong team atmosphere, it just really makes a strong team,” he said. He hopes this will help carry them to their championship season.
The transition from a Norfield Gator to a Gustavus Gustie was not too difficult for Bryce.
Swimming in high school was “… A lot different than the college experience. In college it feels a lot more centered around academics,” Bryce said.
Swim and Dive Head Coach Jon Carlson recognizes his hard work in the pool, and how he carries it outside the pool to his exquisite dedication and form in the weight room as well. He had the following to say about his upcoming Senior: “Bryce is such a hard worker in the pool. He loves tough sets!! He looks at every tough set not as a problem; but a fun challenge!! His teammates love him for being so genuinely nice and caring. Probably best known for, on a team with multiple mustaches, Bryce is the clear winner for best moustache!!!”
Bryce began swimming because neither of his parents could swim, and they really wanted Bryce in swimming lessons for as long as he could remember. But now as a Junior in college, “It was the one sport that clicked for me… [it] always stuck with me…I was better than my brother for some time but we don’t really compare times anymore,” Bryce slipped in.
Bryce is also in pursuit of accomplishing his Exercise Physiology degree, hoping to go on and work with people in sports after graduate school. He feels a lot of his love for physical therapy came from his time in sports, and once he “… took a sports medicine class that really drove my interests towards physical therapy,” Bryce said.
Bryce found his home in swimming, both as a physical activity and for the friends he holds dear in his heart. “To have a sport that I was passionate about, and that I knew about from a young age and to continue, that is something I love.”