Golden Tigers Swimmers Honored at Brenau as Send-off to National Championship Meet
Brenau University honored its No. 3 nationally ranked Golden Tigers swimming team during halftime ceremonies at the Saturday, Feb. 28, home basketball game for their impressive win in the Appalachian Swimming Conference meet and their ranking this week by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America as the top academic team country.
The ceremony at the Tigers home court on the Gainesville, Georgia, campus, was set as a send-off to the teams participation next week in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship meet in Oklahoma City March 4-7.
The ceremony gave special recognition to the Tigers’ coach, Gainesville native Blair Bachman, who won her fourth consecutive coach-of-the-year title following the ASC meet on Feb. 14 and split the top coach title at last year’s NAIA championship.
Led by the ASC “swimmer-of-the-meet” performance, sophomore All-American Courtney Hayward of Townsville, Australia, the Golden Tigers moved up two spots in the national coaches poll after beating defending conference champs Wheeling Jesuit University of Wheeling, West Virginia, by 65.5 points in the meet. The Tigers also had impressive performances by Ella Kleinschmidt, a freshman from Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia; Talia Sola, a sophomore from Madrid, Spain; Amanda Smith, a freshman from Cumming, Georgia; Shelby Rumker, a senior from Douglas, Georgia; freshman Alisha Hodgetts of Perth, Australia; Mary Katherine Jabbia, a junior from Slidell, Louisiana; Sarah Frey, a freshman from Snellville, Georgia; Maria Quiro, a freshman from Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Sophie Nasstrom, a sophomore from Stockholm, Sweden; and Michelle Billeaud, a senior from Lafayette, Louisiana.
However, Brenau University President Ed Schrader said equally impressive was the teams’ combined performance in the classroom, racking up an overall 3.52 Grade Point Average through the end of the fall term for recognition as the top Scholar All-American team in the NAIA.
“At the beginning of the season, the team and I discussed the importance of the student aspect of ‘student-athlete’ and made it a priority to perform well in the classroom,” said head coach Bachman. “I’m proud of their accomplishing this goal.”
In 2014, the team finished fourth at the national championships, crowning two individual national champions, six All-American selections and two All-American relays performance.