For the seventh year in a row, Carleton student-athletes participated in the Ted Mullin Hour of Power for Sarcoma Research, an hour-long relay swim designed to commemorate former Carleton student Edward “Ted” Mullin, who passed away from synovial cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in 2006.
“I think this year’s Hour of Power was bigger and better than it had been in the past,” said Grace Cormier ’13, one of the captains of the Carleton Women’s Swimming and Diving team. Ben Bedore ‘13, one of the captains of the Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, agreed.
“It went better than I could have hoped…the only word I could use to describe it is overwhelming, seeing hundreds of fellow student-athletes turning out to support this cause.”
The Hour of Power consists of a one-hour “leave it in the pool” relay practice, in which swimmers participate in continuous relays, any stroke, all-out, for an hour. Funds raised through the event support the University of Chicago’s research into the causes and treatment of sarcoma in young people. The event also honors Mullin, a former Carleton swimmer who was a loyal and dedicated teammate and member of the Carleton community. The workout was initially derived from one of Mullin’s favorite practices, an all-out swim set that he loved.
“It was exactly the kind of swim set that Ted loved because it required high levels of effort from all team members and because it was a team set, one where everyone worked hard and encouraged each other to push through mental and physical barriers of fatigue,” said Andy Clark, coach of the Men’s Swimming and Diving team. “After Ted died, the Carleton team members wanted to create an event that would honor Ted and his spirit, promote team spirit, generate awareness of sarcoma and raise funds to find a cure for sarcoma. The ‘Hour of Power’ relay swim event is what they came up with.”
In the past year, swim teams across America have participated, and this year was no exception, with 168 teams registered for 2012. Those registered included over 8,200 athletes, an all-time high, as well as teams from 27 different states and the District of Columbia. International teams from Oman and Sweden also took place, as did students abroad in China, Switzerland, Spain, and the Caribbean, the first open water Hour of Power.
The 2012 relay also included a new feature: expansion to other Carleton sports. While the swim team was in the pool, eight other varsity teams—Baseball, Football, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Softball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and Basketball—as well as the club soccer and water polo teams, participated in their own versions of the Hour of Power. These included running relays, strength circuits, and skill drills.
“The idea has been evolving for a few years,” said Mary Henry, Ted’s mother. “Ben Bedore spearheaded the expansion to Carleton’s ‘dry land teams’ through the Student Athletic Advisory Council [SAAC] in fall 2012. We are hoping that Carleton’s experience will serve as a model for other colleges where the Hour of Power is well-established on the swimming/diving teams.”
Bedore explained that the idea for an expanded Hour of Power came from a conversation with his swim coach, Andy Clark, at a practice the previous season. After clearing the idea with the Mullin family, he proposed the idea at a SAAAC meeting, where the idea was met with enthusiasm. “Most teams were pretty excited for it right away,” he said.
The representatives from each team then set out to implement their own versions of the Hour of Power.
In its first six years alone, the fund raised over $330,000 for sarcoma research. Carleton 2012 teams raised over $10,000 through both outright donations and sales of “Cancer Sucks” t-shirts, with the overall 2012 Hour of Power total around $55,000. However, Henry anticipates that the total will equal or exceed $65,000 when all proceeds are reviewed, and events concluded, in spring 2013.
“The leadership, dedication, and effort within the Carleton community is extraordinary,” she said, noting the diverse efforts of the Carleton community. In addition to the swim teams, she mentioned that Alex Vorhees ’13, Jeff Dsida ’14, and Layne Teska ’14, all of whom had attended Ted’s former high school, had been integral in expanding the Hour of Power (Vorhees is captain of Men’s Soccer; Teska is a women’s soccer player, and Dsida is a baseball player who was abroad in Spain in the fall).
She also mentioned that Cormier and Sophie Pilhofer, also a captain of the Women’s Swimming and Diving team, had expanded the Hour of Power to the Northfield community in 2011 by initiating “Trick or Treat for Ted,” in which Carleton swimmers go door-to-door to solicit donations from Northfield residents.
“Without Carleton, there would be no Hour of Power,” Henry said, reiterating once again how grateful she and the Mullin family are to the Carleton community. “Through that annual event, the Ted Mullin Fund is able to make a real difference in the lives of children and young adults stricken with sarcoma.”
The Ted Mullin Fund currently support several research initiatives at the University of Chicago, including internships for undergraduate students, the opening of an Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Clinic, and continued research into genetic factors underlying chemotherapy resistance. For more information, please see www.tedmullin.org.