Maintaining a balance between a challenging academic workload and extracurricular activities isn’t always easy, but Centre College student-athletes strive to perform well in the classroom and in their sport. Uniquely, however, it’s not often that an entire team is able to manage a high grade point average (GPA), yet alone be recognized for such achievement.
All 25 members of the women’s swimming & diving team have proven their academic and athletic skills by successfully managing a high GPA. Due to their success, the team has recently been selected as a Scholar All-American Team with the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).
“It means a lot, because we pride ourselves on not only being good in the pool but also in the classroom,” Head Coach Dean Brownley said. “It is a nice recognition for our swimmers and divers but also for Centre.”
In order to be qualified as a Scholar All-American Team, the team has to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Brownley said it takes a lot of time and commitment to be a student-athlete at Centre.
“The swimming and diving season is the longest on campus, starting in mid-September and, for those who make nationals, it goes until spring break,” he added. “For most of the season, we practice twice a day, from 5:30 to 7 a.m. and 4:15 to 6 p.m.
“I am very proud of the women’s team for accomplishing Academic All-American status,” he concluded. “It shows great commitment to excellence and gives true meaning to student-athletes.”
This season, the women’s team finished fourth in the Southern Athletic Association conference.
In two weeks, the team will send the women’s 4×200-yard freestyle relay squad to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Finals in Indianapolis. The swimmers include Amelia Blankenbeker ’20, Chloe Grove ’20, Annie Holmes ’20 and Sarah Phillips ’21. These swimmers set a school record in the relay at the conference championships, and the time was good enough to rank them 15th in the nation and earn a spot in the finals.
The team also swept the women’s Diver of the Year honors in their conference with Sarah Hayhurst winning both competitions.
Hayhurst recently competed in the regional diving championships in San Antonio, where she won both the 1m and 3m competition, giving her seven regional championships in her career out of eight possible opportunities. Hayhurst will compete in the NCAA finals, where she’ll be looking to be Centre’s first individual national champion in any sport since 2011. She was national runner-up last year and is a five-time All-American in diving.
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 8, 2018