What is it like to represent the Pirates as an athlete?
It is exciting to wear the purple and gold in direct competition with other schools. Here at ECU our swimming and diving program has been very successful, so it's almost like we have a target on our backs when we go to meets. Being an athlete is definitely challenging. I feel like it’s made me a better student just because we have so many requirements we have to meet both for NCAA eligibility and for our team. I’m on a full scholarship and in order to keep it I have to keep my grades up and abide by the rules that come with it. I’ve really enjoyed it though. Sometimes it’s hard because we miss out on a lot of the stuff on campus because practices take up so much time. We practice twice a week from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and Monday through Friday we go 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. We also lift weights twice a week for an hour.
Do students have misconceptions of student-athletes?
Some people think athletes get slack from teachers, but hopefully that perception will change because it isn't true and we actually work really hard. We don’t get better dining hall food or better dorms like some think. It may seem like it’s easier because we get to miss class for meets, but that just means we have extra work to do when we get back. It’s not like professors are dropping assignments for us. It’s definitely not any easier. In some instances it can even be harder. But we are fortunate here to have a lot of professors who are very supportive of us. All my professors are great and some have even come to our meets.
What made you choose ECU?
I was actually recruited by ECU and Florida State for swimming. It was exciting. It’s nice knowing that people want you on their team. It felt good because it proved that all the hard work was worth it. I chose ECU because of the tradition of the swimming program and the great coaches we have here.