The winning streak continues for the Women’s Swimming & Diving Team


UNCA Athletics

Members of the UNC Asheville women’s swimming and diving team remain set in the blocks as they prepare to race.

Israel Garcia-Perez, [email protected], Sports Writer

After their victories over Campbell University and Liberty University, the UNC Asheville women’s swimming and diving team remained undefeated after eight matches. 

“I knew we were going to start the season off fairly strong. We had a great momentum and drive coming off of last season. We opened up with a tough matchup against ECU, which we won, and I think that kind of added to the momentum we already had going,” said Jessica Brock, junior on the women’s swimming and diving team. 

The women’s swimming and diving team is headed to conference play where the school who comes out on top will win it all. 

“Well, the season is wrapping quickly. This weekend is Senior Celebration and the only remaining meet is conference championships. I was not sure we could go undefeated, but the team momentum has been growing since September and this group simply never gave up,” said Elizabeth Lykins, head coach of women’s swimming and diving. 

An undefeated record at this point in the season just adds to the historical season the team has accomplished this year. 

“We accomplished one of the largest feats in program history by defeating Campbell and UNCW for the first time ever. We’ve proven that we can hold our own against the big schools in and out of our conference,” Brock said. 

Despite the magical season the team is wrapping up, Lykins and her team said the success did not come easily.

“Success is never instant. This is 10 years in the making. We feel accomplished,  yet we are still hungry for more,” Lykins said.

Lykins, originally from Gainesville, Ga., was hired to start the women’s swimming program, now swim and dive, here at UNCA in late February 2012.

“I chose UNC Asheville because of the opportunity to start a program and build it from the ground-up. Also, (it was) my first head coaching position after spending 10 years as an assistant coach. I love the Asheville area, it is close to my family and I love the mountains,” Lykins said. 

Along with Lykins, swimmers on the team knew the success was going to come. It was just a matter of time. 

“The success makes me cherish my last year as a collegiate swimmer even more special. I would have never imagined this would be how senior year would be after overcoming so many obstacles so it just makes me happy to be a part of this team. We as a team are just so proud of each other and our love for our team is overwhelming,” said Marlee Burgess, senior on the women’s swim and diving team. 

Lynkins said they couldn’t be more proud of the seniors and the achievements they made and continue to make.

“We work very hard individually and as a team to get to where we are. Our blood, sweat and tears goes into our success. As a senior, I have been through a huge growth with this team. We have placed higher at conferences every year I’ve been here, as well as we have beat teams this year that as a freshman were untouchable for us,” Burgess said.

According to Burgess, the team atmosphere on meet day is like no other. The energy is through the roof and when the team walks on the pool deck, they become the loudest and most energetic team. 

“The team environment on meet days is one of my favorite environments to be in. We always have upbeat music playing, whether it’s on a bus at an away meet or in our home locker room, to help hype us up and, most importantly, we always do a team cheer before every meet. Meet days are always so energy-packed and full of excitement, so much so that most of us come home with no voice from all the cheering and hyping up we do,” Brock said.

Daily team practices consume the weekdays, and the weekend meets allow the team to showcase the work put in each day.

“We’ve done the work, now let’s go race. Swimming fast is fun,” Lykins said when preparing her team on meet day. 

Lykins tries to implement accountability, to themselves and to others on the team. She also tells her swimmers that asking for help is a sign of strength, and team members said they really appreciate it. 

“The coaching staff is a huge part of our success. They are the ones who make sure we are training hard while also taking care of our bodies, injuries and mental health. They always put us as people and students ahead of the sport itself which is what makes us respect them and their decisions,” Burgess said. 

According to Brock, Lykins founded this team 10 years ago and built it up from nothing. In 2012, the team had around eight swimmers. 10 years later, the team has gone all the way up to having 32 girls rostered.

“The coaches on this team are some of the most supportive and helpful coaches I’ve ever had. They’re largely to thank for much of our success. If it wasn’t for them always pushing us to be better and helping us roll with whatever life throws at us,” Brock said. 

The team headed off for the conference tournament on Jan. 29.