By Mark Morales
The Sacred Heart University women’s swimming and diving team are coming off a fall semester where they collectively posted a 3.44 GPA, the national average being 3.336. The stat that stands out the most though is that the Pioneers GPA is tied for 42nd across the globe.
Due to their success in the classroom, the Pioneers earned the Scholar All-America distinction from the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America. In order to even be considered a Scholar All-America team, you must achieve a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher.
“We want to show the SHU campus and the people in our conference that not only are we good at swimming, but we are also on top of our grades,” said freshman Lauren Somers. “We want to put it out there that we have a high GPA because that’s a big achievement.”
The women’s swimming and diving team are one of 18 university sports programs that acquired a 3.4 GPA or higher last fall. They attribute their success to their teammates. They stressed that having each other was one of the main reasons for their success in and out of the pool.
“We would not be where we are without our teammates, there’s no doubt about it, without our teammates I’d be no where,” said freshman Nikole Rudis. “It’s definitely a team effort, it might be our individual grade, but it’s our team GPA.”
This group of 28 young successful women are able to find a balance between schoolwork and sports by leaning on each other for motivation and are there to help each other keep pushing throughout the long and tiring season.
“You don’t go to the library or the Pitt alone, you go do homework together. Everyone’s cheering for each other, you always give a shout out to someone in the water,” said freshman Kimberly Hylan.
When asked about their coach’s dedication to the sport, as well as his dedication for his athletes success in the classroom, Rudis had nothing but good things to say.
“He definitely emphasizes that academics comes first, what we do in the classroom is just as important as what we do in the pool,” said Rudis.
Sacred Heart’s student-athletes had a combined GPA of 3.33 last semester and are on pace to surpass their award-winning GPA of 3.279 from the 2014-15 academic year. That year, they earned the NEC Institutional GPA Award.
The women’s swimming and diving team are 8-2 on the season and will begin their playoff push on Feb. 15 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, looking to capture their first NEC championship in school history.