Swimmer honored

A perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA at graduation requires a drive and will to succeed. Throw in twice daily swim practices and a Biology/Pre-med major and things become even more difficult. However, this is exactly what recent graduate Jessica Guinness has accomplished.

She was only the second University swimmer ever to be honored with the ESPN The Magazine Second-Team Academic All-American Women’s at Large team. Guinness is one of 816 male and female student-athletes honored annually with this award granted by the College Sports Information Directors

of America.

“It took a lot of time management, by balancing my homework and two-a-day practices,” Guinness said.

She managed 20 to 25 hours a week of training on top of a full course load. Guinness was selected as the University’s only Rhodes Scholar nominee in 2006.

“I didn’t think I would make it more than a year,” Guinness said. “Maybe I would just improve myself, but after I pulled a 4.0 my first semester, I thought I should set higher goals for myself.”

Guinness also won the team’s most improved swimmer award her freshman and sophomore year. Her fellow teammates looked to Guinness as a role model.

“I have so much admiration for what she has done. She has been such an inspiration in and out of the pool,” said Kim Albin, a member of the University’s swim team.

One of Guinness’ own constant role models is her mother, Joyce. With her mother being a registered nurse and her father an emergency pediatric doctor, they have both been able to help Guinness in her studies by offering advice and counseling.

When Guinness first started here at the University, she was involved in nursing since she was not sure if she could handle the rigorous work load it would take to become a doctor. However, now she is hoping to continue her education at the University of Michigan and eventually go into either surgery or cardiology.

In order to be eligible for the ESPN The Magazine award, students must keep a 3.2 cumulative GPA and be of sophomore status or higher. The athletes must be nominated by their sports information directors at their respective universities. Once all the nominations have been confirmed, they will be voted on by all of the by a select group of sports information directors from different


Last March, Guinness was selected to the Academic All-MAC team for the second consecutive year. She also received the University athletic department’s Falcon Club Senior Female Award, which granted her graduate financial aid.

Guinness was not only successful in the classroom but in the pool as well. She won the bronze medal for the 200 yard freestyle relay along with Stephanie Buckner, Dana Schultz and Sami Jordan.

Along with Caroline Keating, Jenn Wright and Stephanie Buckner, she also broke the school record in the 800-yard freestyle relay at the 2006 Mid-American Conference swimming and diving championship meet.