Swimming and diving achieves record GPA

Nickie Morris, Staff Writer

The women’s swimming and diving team was recognized for a victory outside of the pool this fall: academic achievement.

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America  has named them a Scholar All-America Team, with a 3.47 team GPA, the highest ever recorded.

Nineteen student athletes on the women’s swimming and diving team posted a GPA of 3.5 or higher this fall, according to UVM athletics.

They had the highest team GPA among America East schools, against which they will compete against once more Feb. 15-18 in the America East Championships in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“We’re excited to break the stereotype of college athletes not caring, and compete at a high level in all aspects of our lives,” said junior diver Ashley Branagan.

Branagan has helped carry the divers this season, taking second overall in the three meter event at UVM’s most recent meet against America East rival University of Rhode Island.

With that win, the Catamounts finished the dual meet season with an overall record of 6–4, going 3–2 against the America East Conference.

“The work ethic on this team is equal with the swimmers and divers,” senior swimmer Kira Hancock said. “Although we have seperate pool practices for different events, we are all in it together toward the same goal.

“We all lift together a lot which bonds the whole team.”

Hancock was honored along with eight other seniors Jan. 12 at Forbush in the Senior Day meet against Northeastern.

Hancock swam to three second-place finishes in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 medley relay, along with a 400 freestyle relay win in the final race of the meet.

Both athletes stressed the encouraging culture of the team being vital in their academic success.

“We place academics and athletics at equal value,” Branagan said. “Some other athletes think they can slip by academically.”

Swimming and diving as a sport does not have every athlete competing at once or even in the same event.

Yet the culture of the team is something emphasized by its athletes.

“We are a team, but with individual events, and so we have to have our lives together individually to work cohesively as a team,” Hancock said. “So we have to have our lives together individually to work cohesively as a team.”