The Bulldog swimmers have seen a great amount of success in 2016-17, both in the pool and in the classroom. The team has been awarded the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Award, in addition to achieving record-breaking times in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association conference championship.
Head Women’s Swimming Coach Elizabeth Lykins said a team should be built of “great people, great students and then great swimmers. It has to be in that order or else we’re not going to be successful.”
The team earned the Scholar All-America Award for achieving a team GPA of 3.33 for the fall 2016 semester. Freshman student-athlete Skylar Rogan said scholarship is an important goal for the team. “It’s also something that coach promotes, because it’s very clear that we’re here for school and swimming, but school is always the priority,” she said.
The team has also been successful in competition. At their conference championships in Athens, Ga., the Bulldogs surpassed several lifetime bests and school records. Morgan Rulevich (1:52.00), Alejandra Sanchez Garcia (1:52.69), Adee Weller (1:52.32) and Skylar Rogan (1:52.32) broke the UNC Asheville record for fastest 4x200 freestyle relay by more than three seconds. The quartet combined for an overall time of 7:29.33 and placed fourth in the event, marking the highest-ever finish in any relay for the Bulldogs.
“The energy is just crazy when everyone is swimming so fast and we’re all feeding off each other’s successes. We know that’s a goal for ourselves as a team going into every meet,” said junior Stephanie Smith who swam a lifetime best 2:04:20 in the 200 backstroke at the Wingate Frenzy, where the Bulldogs finished a strong 3rd of 7 teams competing.
“Throughout this year we’ve figured out that we as a team swim the best when we’re all having a good time and relaxing and are confident in our abilities. We all knew we were going to do really well either way,” Rogan agreed.
“This year was pretty special and I don’t think, other than our first or second year, we’ve ever broken this many records. I think we learned this year that to swim fast we have to be having fun. This year, that was just the theme,” Lykins said. “And everybody knows that swimming fast is fun.”