Swimming and Diving receives Scholar All-America honors


Photo courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

The OU swimming and diving program received Scholar All-America honors.

The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) has selected the Oakland University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams for Scholar All-America honors for their efforts in the classroom last semester, according to a press release.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Swimming and Diving Head Coach Pete Hovland. “It’s something the team continues to strive to do. It’s something they take a lot of pride in. They work extremely hard in the pool, and everybody knows that — they’ve been highly successful, but I think what goes under the radar sometimes is how hard they work in the classroom. We have some truly outstanding student athletes, not just in the swimming and diving program, but in the entire athletic department.”

Founded in 1922, the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA), is the nation’s first organization of college coaches. The mission of the CSCAA is to advance the sport of swimming and diving with coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy and professional development.

Hovland also talked about the importance of academics for his student athletes. 

“There’s very, very few in our sport that can make a profession out of swimming — unless you want to go into coaching like I have or you’re fortunate enough to be in that 1% of the best swimmers in the world — so they can turn pro and make money that way,” Hovland said. “It’s definitely something that needs to be their priority, and they need to work at it and spend as much time — if not more — on that than they do in the pool. I think the results on an annual basis, and over the four or five decades I’ve been here, prove that.”

In addition to the program being recognized, seven swimmers were recognized by the CSCAA for their individual academic excellenceThose swimmers include: Christian Bart – Honorable Mention (Criminal Justice), Mack Flowers – Honorable Mention (Mathematics), Ryan Geheb – Honorable Mention (Computer Science), Marko Khotynetskyi – Honorable Mention (Business Administration) and on the women’s side, Taylor Bailey – Honorable Mention (Health Science and Human Performance), Susan LaGrand – first team (Pre-Medicine), and Sydney McDowell – Honorable Mention (Biomedical Science). 

The award recognizes students who achieved a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher, and who were invited to compete at their respective national championship.

Hovland mentioned one thing that often gets overlooked is that most student athletes are precisely that: students that just so happen to be athletes.

“You look at athletic departments across the country, and you look at the average grade-point average that athletic departments have versus the normal student body, and it’s not even close,” Hovland said. “You can do that in just about every school in the country. So, I think the good news gets lost in the shuffle sometimes — and it’s unfortunate — but college athletics really plays a key role in the success of a lot of students across the gamut of colleges throughout the United States.”

Hovland said all of his unofficial recruiting visits this year had involved recruits with a 4.0 GPA or higher. 

“It just shows you that the sport goes really well with academics and all the things that [come with it]: the self discipline and the time management [for example],” Hovland said. “Those things go hand in hand, and in order to excel in one you have to excel at the other. Swimmers and divers do that on a consistent basis as do most student athletes.”