For the second time in her collegiate career, Junior Abigail Brous will participate in the Division III NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (NCAAs) held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina from Wednesday, March 18 to Saturday, March 21.
Brous is scheduled to compete in the 50 free and 100 backstroke events on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
She becomes the first swimmer to qualify for NCAAs in first-year Head Coach Elise Blaschke’s tenure.
“Representing Rowan, representing the women’s program especially, and having Elise as head coach, being her first swimmer to go to nationals in her first year is just as great and as important to me [as qualifying],” Brous said.
Blaschke received the call from the NCAA last Monday and she was informed that the chances of Brous advancing to the national competition were unlikely, and was given sincere congratulations for a successful season.
Until the next day.
Blaschke received the call from the same woman, which turned into an awkward conversation. The committee extended an invitation to Brous due to a late scratch from a swimmer.
“It’s awesome. The most unique part about it is that Abigail was not selected until a week after some of the selections were made. So it was a special moment,” Blaschke said. “So proud of her.”
Because Brous was notified a week late, her transition into the pool was different after the regular-season concluded. While the level of intensity and energy rose, Blaschke is there to guide her and provide advice.
“The first two or three days, I was easing back to it. Practice has been very intense with the speed work, the weight lifting has got more intense,” Brous said. “While I am tired at the moment because the intensity picked up so drastically, I can see the excitement from the guys and that brings me excitement.”
Her coach is there to remind her to embrace the moment.
“What I am trying to keep at the forefront of her mind is to be grateful for this opportunity. The uniqueness of the opportunity is great. She is the one female that gets to experience it this year, to go in with excitement,” Blaschke said. “The best thing she can learn is to watch the people around her, how they act, the excitement they bring, the team comradery and bring that next year to encourage her team.”
Brous and Blaschke will join the men’s swimming and diving Head Coach Brad Bowser on the business trip next week, along with seniors Matt Grub, Jake Kayati, Juniors Kevin Gillooly, Dylan Regan and freshman Dominick Sheppard.
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