Athletes of the Week: CMU Swim and Dive’s Academic Dominance

Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 9:20 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Colorado Mesa University Swim and Dive Teams continue to stack up awards.

The program is coming off a year with both the Men’s and Women’s teams posting podium finishes at the NCAA DII National Championships; they’re now getting recognition for a different reason.

The Men’s and Women’s teams both were named as the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Teams for the 2023 spring semester.

“I think it’s become a bigger thing. Since coach has gotten here, and especially since I’ve done here, you know, it started off a little bit rocky COVID was a little tough for everybody, especially with online school and the expectations not being well known. But I think that coach has really set in stone, that we are here to get an education first and foremost, and that is extremely important. If you’re ineligible, you can’t swim, so you have to have that good academic standing, no matter what,” Redshirt Sophomore Gavin Anderson said.

“It goes together , right? If you’re going to live the life of a champion, very rarely are we successful in one aspect of our life, we try to recruit very competitive, ambitious kids that want to be competitive, both athletically and academically and in the community and everywhere,” Head Coach Mickey Wender said.

The Women’s Team posted a 3.53 GPA in both the Spring and Fall Semesters and the Men’s Team posted 3.26 in the Spring. That’s no accident. according to the team.

“I think the thing that we do the best is what we call our team academic mentorship program, our TAM program. So what we try to do is match up upperclassmen, or students who are excelling with freshmen and lower classmen, or students that are struggling,” Coach Wender said.

“Some people are very good at certain classes that they take. Say, I’m in a business major, and I have a math class that I took that I did really well in, we have sheets of tutoring opportunities, where we can help each other out on those classes,” Sophomore Ellie Wilke said.

The women’s team has now been recognized for 20 consecutive semesters. So now the challenge becomes staying sharp and motivated. In both the pool and the classroom with the bar set so high. But the Mavs team says they’re up to the challenge.

“Sustained success, but 3.53 is pretty darn good. We feel great about I think it might be in my 32 years as a head coach, the highest team GPA that that we’ve had, and they’re not taking easy majors. They’re all over the place. We got a lot of future doctors, and it’s a competitive academic environment,” Coach Wender said.

“It really feels great. But honestly, I’m not surprised because the team that I came into a few years ago as a freshman has always been very, very hard working. And we never let our goals intimidate us. And I am super, super happy that we got recognized. And frankly, I think it’s just going to be motivation to keep getting better and better because that’s just how our team is. And I’m really proud to be a part of a team that has a mentality like that,” Wilke said.