Waynesboro SMAC stars making waves in college pools
If you ask most people in Waynesboro or Augusta County what local sports team do you think has been the most dominant in recent years, the answers would likely be the Riverheads High School football team, whose teams seem to go 10-0 or 9-1 every year and are always a threat to win another state championship title.
Very few would answer the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club, whose graduating senior class usually numbers only two to four swimmers. However, SMAC currently has eight swimmers competing in college, four at a Division I swimming program, two at a Division II school and two at a Division III school.
If you can manage the rigorous schedule of a competitive swimmer at SMAC for 8-10 years, you will likely have the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level.
SMAC is the local USA swim team that trains at the Waynesboro Y and Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro. SMAC is a club team that competes against other USA club swimming programs across the state and the top swimmers who can meet the qualifying times compete against the best swimmers across the country.
The group of eight swimmers currently in college is lead by Remedy Rule, the All-American junior at the University of Texas, a perennial contender for the national championship. The other Division I swimmers include junior Jessie Arnold at Virginia Tech, sophomores Norah Hunt at the College of William and Mary and Brazil Rule at the University of Connecticut.
Aaron James and Jordan Miller are both rising sophomores for Division II schools, James at the University of Tampa and Miller at West Virginia Wesleyan. Morgan James will be starting her first year at Division III Catholic University this fall, and Maggie Riggan will be starting her college swimming at Division III Roanoke College.
Remedy Rule, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier, has garnered the most accolades of the group. Since starting her career at the University of Texass she has been a Big 12 champion, an honorable mention All-American her freshman year, an All-American her sophomore season and a finalist at the 2017 World Championship trials.
Her second year she helped lead Texas to a 13-1 dual meet record and fifth-place finish at the national championships. Highlights for her and her Texas Teammates this past season included: fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, Big 12 champions, new Big 12 Championship records in the 200 and 400 medley relays, new Texas team records in the 200 and 400 medley relays, and breaking the 22-year home winning streak of the University of Georgia.
Beating Georgia and breaking their winning streak was very special for the Texas team since their head coach, Carol Capitani, was an assistant at Georgia for 14 of those unbeaten years.
To put Georgia’s streak into perspective, none of the Texas swimmers were born when the streak of over 200 wins in a row began.
Individually Rule also had the privilege/challenge/unenviable task (however you want to describe it) of racing against American record holder and national champion Ella Eastin and swimming superstar Katie Ledecky in the 200 fly during their meet against Stanford University. Rule was in lane 4 (sandwiched between Ledecky in lane 3 and Eastin in lane 5) with thousands of fans in attendance to see one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Although a little nervous at the start of the race, Rule swam a blistering mid-season time of 1:55 in the 200 fly to beat both Ledecky and Eastin.
Even though the 200 fly is not Ledecky’s best event, there are very few swimmers who can say they beat her in any race. Rule’s win help Texas stay close, but the eventual national champion Stanford slowly pulled away to hand Texas its only loss of the season.
Other highlights from the SMAC swimmers competing in college included Hunt helping William and Mary win the Colonial Athletic Conference championship, and Brazil Rule swimming the fastest split for UConn as it set a new team record in the 200 freestyle relay. Rule was the only swimmer under 23 seconds.
SMAC is a year round USA swim club and is starting a new season with new Head Coach, Bill Nicholson. If you have questions about the team or are interested in joining the Team go to www.smacswimming.org
Call or email head coach Bill Nicholson at 540-471-7152 or email@example.com.