Oakland and Cleveland State unite in sour-but-sweet showdown

Ally Racey

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Oakland Swimming and Diving took the Lyme Disease Challenge on Monday, fulfilling a “dare” of sorts from Cleveland State University by stating a fact about the disease and biting into actual limes. Oakland challenged University of Illinois at Chicago Swimming and Diving, Valparaiso University Swimming and Diving and Oakland Volleyball to do the same.

Cleveland State had challenged Oakland as a tribute to their teammate Madisen Tretter, who was diagnosed with the disease last summer.

According to the challenge’s website, the campaign was started to raise awareness and funding to aid the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. The disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by ticks and can be characterized early on by severe headaches and later on by possible neurological and cardiac problems.

Two of Oakland’s breaststrokers, Takara Martin and Rachel Waite, took the lead to create the video. Martin and Waite raced against Tretter during their freshman and sophomore year.

“[We] became not just competitors, but friends as well,” Waite said.

In Tretter’s sophomore year, she made the NCAA B cut in the 200 breaststroke. She set a school record in the same event.

After recording such a huge accomplishment, she was diagnosed with the disease and had to red shirt her junior year.

“Madisen has had a tough year but still remains strong and hopes to be back in the water as soon as she can,” Martin said.

Waite and Martin said they were impressed by how many people wanted to be a part of the challenge.

“Even though Madisen and Cleveland State are a strong competitor for Oakland in the Horizon League, it is great to see that we can still support one another,” Martin said.

Waite and Martin said they were grateful for being able to do what they love each and every day.

“We get up at 5:30 a.m. and drag our feet some mornings, but realistically, we would miss it if it was taken away,” Waite said.

Tretter hopes to attend the Horizon League Championship to support and cheer on her team as they travel to compete against the Golden Grizzlies in February.

You can see the Lyme Disease Challenge video on YouTube, Oakland University SAAC’s Facebook page and @OaklandSAAC.