Players and athletes often call their teams families. But for the DeLoof sisters, families – and teams – are even closer than you’d think.
Four DeLoof sisters have come to swim at Michigan over the years. Ali, the oldest, swam with the Wolverines from 2013-2016, while junior Catie DeLoof and sophomore Jackie DeLoof still have some time left as Michigan swimmers. Senior Gabby DeLoof has just two home meets left in her Michigan tenure.
Gabby, a Grosse Pointe native, didn’t always plan on swimming at Michigan, but after “going through the process… it was the best decision for us.”
Since she’s been in Ann Arbor, Gabby has picked up various accolades. As a two-time CSCAA All-American, four-time CSCAA All-America honorable mention and now team captain, she’s definitely found her way as a standout on the team and among her sisters.
The senior started the second half of her final season strong. In Saturday’s meet against Indiana, the senior placed first in three events – the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay – and helped her team to a win.
The only event Gabby competed in that she didn’t win was the 50-yard freestyle, where her sister Catie beat her out.
Gabby mentions she and Catie have tied on many occasions in competitive play and says “it’s nice to go back and forth.”
“I think it would be more tough if one of us were constantly first and the other one was constantly second,” Gabby said.
When thinking about her experience as a sister and a swimmer during her time as a Wolverine, Gabby focuses on memories and the atmosphere as a whole.
Her favorite moment as a DeLoof sister?
“Probably us just goofing off little sister moments on deck,” Gabby said.
Her remarks were earnest and tender, but with a hint of competition, just as you’d expect from athletes and siblings.
As the Wolverines finish their season, Gabby has a lot to look forward to – like the Big Ten Tournament – and a lot to look back on.
“I’m definitely gonna miss training with my sisters and training with my Michigan family,” Gabby said as her final few meets approach. “Everyone on the team is so dedicated and supportive not just to me as a captain, but just like a teammate and a family like we're all kind of sisters on the team.”