Spencer Vetter wouldn’t be at Centre College if it weren’t for his older sister. Tayllor Vetter wouldn’t be swimming at all if it weren’t for her younger brother.
So the two siblings have each other to thank for the fact that both are enjoying successful seasons with the Colonels’ swim teams, and both say they couldn’t be happier with their decision to come from South Carolina to swim for Centre.
“We really love it,” Spencer said.
Spencer Vetter is a freshman who is already enjoying success in his first year on the team, while Tayllor Vetter is a junior who is enjoying her best collegiate season.
Tayllor Vetter won the 100-yard breaststroke, was second in the 200 breaststroke and was on two winning relay teams Saturday in Centre’s Colonel Classic.
“I’ve been improving every year, so it’s really great to see all the hard work pay off. This year’s been quite a blessing,” she said.
Spencer Vetter was a close second at the same meet in the 100 breaststroke — the same event he won in his very first Centre meet — and he was also third in the 200 breaststroke and part of a second-place relay finish.
“I feel like I’m swimming well, but I’m not really satisfied, ever,” he said. “Here I have to commit myself. It’s not my parents pushing me, I’ve committed myself to a team here more so than I was in high school, where I was more of an individual.”
The siblings’ road from their Lexington, S.C., home to Centre began when Spencer was 8 years old and in his first year as a swimmer. Tayllor was a gymnast at the time and had never swam competitively.
“She started swimming just because I was swimming. Tayllor says my mom made her give up gymnastics to swim,” Spencer said with a grin.
Tayllor confirmed at least part of the story.
“I started swimming when I was 13. He actually got me into swimming,” she said.
It was during Tayllor’s senior year in high school that she discovered Centre and its program while on a Christmas vacation visit to her grandmother’s home in St. Petersburg, Fla., which is also where the Colonels go for an annual training trip.
“My mom had heard of the team. I’d never heard of Centre before, so she was like, ‘Let’s just go check it out,’ so we did,” Tayllor said. “They were swimming outside in the winter, and they all looked pretty tan and they were having a good time, and I was like, ‘That would be great to have the chance to do that.’ And they just seemed to be enjoying themselves. It seemed like a hard practice, but one of the girls got out and talked to me and she was nice. They genuinely seemed interested in me going to Centre.”
She said Centre was just the type of small, liberal arts school she was looking for, though not necessarily in the part of the country she had in mind.
“I remember my (visit), it was 11 degrees outside, and it was freezing. I was like, ‘It’s so cold! But I love everyone, and the classes are awesome.’ IÃ?Â¿knew I had to go here,” she said.
She also knew it would be a good spot for her little brother as well.
“Ever since I came here and immediately loved it, I knew that Spencer had to come here, too,” Tayllor said. “I didn’t know if he’d really want to go to a smaller school, but when he got in last year, he knew it was the right fit for him, too. It’s been great for both of us.”
Spencer said it didn’t take long for him to develop the same appreciation for Centre that his sister had.
“When she was a freshman and I was a junior I was looking at it, and I really liked it. I really liked all the people, I loved the team and coach Dean (Brownley). When I got here, it was just like I had to come here,” he said.
Brother and sister both also said they were happy to get to go to school at the same place.
“I always wanted to go to college with her. I thought it’d be really cool,” Spencer said.
“We’ve been pretty much best friends all growing up,” Tayllor added. “We grew up in a neighborhood full of boys, so Spencer was like my only friend that I could hang out with. He’s always been there for me, great support.”
Both swimmers are breaststroke specialists, though Spencer said his sister has always favored that stroke and he took it up only a couple of years ago.
“I guess I wanted to be like her,” he said.
Both are also part of teams that are steadily improving and have designs on contending for Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships next month.
“We’ve been winning a lot of meets, and we’ve been having a lot of success with our relays,” Tayllor said of the women’s team. “We’re doing great, and we have big expectations for conference. We’re all looking forward to it.”
“Dean says this might be the best (men’s)Ã?Â¿team he’s had in four or five years. We’re really looking forward to conference and what we can do,” Spencer said. “From watching last year and coming this year, it’s already grown so much. We’re all really close-knit, too, and that helps us swim really well.”
Each sibling is making significant contributions, and each said the other is the better swimmer.
“She’s really positive. She’s a great competitor, and my favorite thing about her is she’s really, really helpful. After you swim, she’ll always come up and say good job no matter what. She’s a great teammate,” Spencer said.
“I think he’s going to huge things at conference. He’s been so great for the team this year with relays and everything,” Tayllor said of Spencer. “He’s always helping me get better, giving me tips and stuff. He came in having a spot on the A relay. He’s doing great, better than I’ve ever done.”