It all started at a very young age for Eastern Michigan University swimmer Tyler Capen, who took up the sport at the age of five.
“I started swimming because I had two older brothers that were 10 and 12 years older than me,” Capen said. “I was always around the water because of them and became interested. They helped me tremendously in getting me started with swimming.”
Swimming from such a young age developed Capen into the swimmer he is today.
In high school, Capen was a four-year letter winner swimming at Marmion Academy in Aurora, Ill. He was a four-time All-Conference and state qualifier and earned All-State honors during his junior and senior seasons. Capen was also voted first team All-American his junior year and third team his senior year.
When it came time to look into colleges, Capen had to choose among EMU, The University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Miami (Ohio). EMU stood out for two reasons: the coaching staff and the team itself. Those reasons were key factors.
“The wonderful coaching staff and great teammates,” Capen said. “The coaches were above and beyond more knowledgeable and passionate about swimming than any others I came in contact with. They really made me feel like I was wanted. Also, the team was awesome. I felt like I fit in the moment I met them. They were all very similar people to me that shared similar goals. I felt like they were not just my teammates
but my family.”
Since coming to EMU, Capen has been very successful in the backstroke. During the 2010-11 season he placed 13th in both the 100- and 200-meter backstroke at the Mid-American Conference swimming and diving championships. He was also second in the 100 breaststroke against Xavier and took second in the 100-meter backstroke against Miami. Against Michigan, he swam to a third-place finish in the 100-meter backstroke.
In the 2009-10 season, Capen was an All-MAC second-team selection, and at the MAC championships he placed sixth in the 400 IM, seventh in the 200 IM and fifth in the 200 backstroke. He also posted the second-fastest time in the MAC at the EMU Invite in the 200 backstroke. Capen took first in two events against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and won the 200 backstroke against Purdue.
In his time at EMU, Capen has built on the foundation coaches have laid for him.
“The coaches have worked hard on improving my technique in all four strokes,” Capen said. “Because of this, I have become a better all-around swimmer in every stroke. My endurance has also improved because of the hard and constant training that we do on a daily basis. The coaches have also helped me improve on my underwater dolphin kicks and turns to make me a faster swimmer.”
One thing Capen will take away from swimming is the teammates and friends he has made at EMU.
“The bond that has been made between me and my teammates,” Capen said when asked what is his favorite aspect of this EMU squad. “It goes much further than just the swimming pool. They are all my very good friends, and we hang out all the time. I
know that I have made friends that will last a lifetime.”
Capen is a junior at EMU, and after graduation he plans to move back to his hometown of Chicago. He is seeking a degree in Supply Chain Management and hopes to receive a job in this field working with a large company in downtown Chicago.
When he is not swimming he enjoys hanging out with his friends, playing golf, goofing around, listening to music, hanging with his brothers, taking naps and eating. An interesting fact about Capen is that he enjoys cooking. He is an avid watcher of the
“I enjoy trying to make new meals, it’s challenging and fun,” Capen said.
The season is just getting under way, and EMU is 0-1 so far and is back in action at 1 p.m. Nov. 12 when it hosts Oakland at the Jones Natatorium.