Emma Leathers and her many roles on campus

Emma+Leathers%2C+fourth+year+student+at+Westmont+

Sofia Pela

Emma Leathers, fourth year student at Westmont

Lexi McWilliams , Features Editor

If fourth-year Westmont student Emma Leathers was asked in 2018 what she thought her college career would look like, her answer would be drastically different than the story that has proven to play out. She didn’t anticipate she would attend a Christian college or be involved with a swim team during her undergrad years. Leathers is a kinesiology major, a spiritual formation coordinator (SFC) in Van Kampen Hall this year and the captain of the women’s swim team. 

Leathers’ father was her swim coach in high school, but she never planned on swimming in college. At the beginning, Leathers was in Santa Barbara visiting the University of California, Santa Barbara, but her dad managed to convince her to visit Westmont while they were in the area. Leathers described her first impression of Westmont saying, “How can I not love [Westmont]? It’s a fairy garden. The people that are here have a desire to be here. They value a Christian education as well as a rigorous education.” 

While visiting, Leathers was able to meet the brand new swim coach, Jill Jones-Lin. The swim team was about to start its very first season the year that Leathers was entering college. She loved Coach Jill’s style and, along with her love for the campus, Leathers decided to attend Westmont. 

During the first year of the swim team’s existence there were 12 girls, and during the present fall semester there are 17. Leathers is one of the four original girls still on the team. As Westmont transitions into D2 athletics, there is some worry that the Westmont community will change because of the incoming student athletes. However, Leathers says, “We’re getting a different caliber of athlete because we’re getting people that are fast, rather than people who are doing the sport because they love it. But, what’s going to make Westmont, Westmont is that we’re not changing our mission of faith and we’re not changing how many chapel skips athletes get.” 

Leathers is also a captain of the swim team this season. As a captain, Leathers leads workouts, is available to any team member who needs advice and is in charge of meet snacks. Additionally, Leathers is one of the student broadcasters, meaning she conducts player interviews, play-by-play analyses and colored commentary on all sports that can be broadcasted. 

As an SFC, Leathers needs to be on campus in her room for at least a few hours once a day. She also has to check in with residents and meet with students who reach out to her looking for help. “The past couple years, [the SFCs] haven’t been utilized at all, except to enforce COVID-19 rules. But now, we can do our jobs.”

Reflecting on her years at Westmont, Leathers says her goal was to have a friend in every grade and in every sports team. She says, “I made my goal, but I want more, and not just in sports.” After graduating, Leathers hopes to have friendships throughout Westmont, to be an occupational therapist and to design better prosthetics.

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