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Swim Team Achieves Scholar All American Status

Kurt Loeffler
Kurt Loeffler

The Mills College swim team was recently recognized for last fall’s semester average GPA of 3.16.  The status of Scholar All American was awarded by  the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) and included a certificate and a letter to President DeCoudreaux  for the team’s academic athletic achievements.

“The swim team has been recognized every semester by the CSCAA during the thirteen years that I have coached here, ” said swim Coach Neil Virtue.

In Fall 2011, the swim team reached its highest average GPA of 3.67, which made it the second highest team GPA average in the nation that semester.

Virtue understands the importance of balancing school with sports.

“Although the swim team is important,” Virtue said,”being a Mills student comes first.”

During the season, Virtue supports his athletes’ academic schedules by setting aside time for the team to study and work. He asks for his athletes to be responsible about managing their time.

Being on the swim team is a stress reliever for Junior Mara Harwood. After a long day of  classes Harwood looks forward to swim practice to step back from her busy schedule and “swim out” her stress.  Because she and her teammates had similar work schedules, they formed study groups. The team became a strong support system for one another.

“On the swim team, I have a consistent group of people who are supportive and driven,” said Sophomore Sarah O’Neal. “We travel, eat and study together. Some of my closest friends are from the team”.

O’Neal said that being on the swim team helped her adjust to Mills College last year as a first year.

“I need to do something physical in my life,” O’Neal said. “If I don’t, I’ll just go crazy. Being on the team really helped me out last year.”

Senior Gaby Amberchan said that she received her best grades during swim season. Amberchan was able to organize her peer tutoring sessions as well as homework around swim practices, resulting in successful grades.

“During swim season, I feel the most organized,” said Amberchan.

This year Amberchan is excited for new swimmers to join.

“I remember being a freshman on the team while there were five seniors,” Amberchan said. “They helped give me guidance on how Mills worked and allowed me to branch out of my major.”

Amberchan is ready to take on the new leadership position and become a guide for the new first year swimmers. This year the team will be welcoming five new swimmers and seven returning.