With close to two-dozen BC/Yukon records and a handful of national ones as a Glacier Bear, Alexandra Gabor’s days with the Whitehorse swim club are numbered.
The 17-year-old announced this week she has signed a letter of intent to attend and swim for California’s Stanford University on a full scholarship next fall.
“I’m really excited,” said Gabor. “There were four schools I was looking at that I was interested in and went to visit. I got a feel for all of them, how good the academic program and how good the athletic program is.
“Stanford got second in NCAA last year, which is pretty good in my books.”
Though she will soon be hanging up the Glacier Bears swim cap, there is little doubt her name will continue to blanket the club’s record books for years to come.
Adding one more last month at the Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet here in Whitehorse, to date Gabor has set 72 club records (42 short course and 30 long). In addition, Gabor currently holds 21 BC records and five Canadian freestyle records in the 1,500-metre (girls 10-and-under), the 200-, 400- and 1,500-metre (girls 11/12) and the 200-metre (girls 15/17).
With such a list of accomplishments, there’s no surprise she is more excited than intimidated, making the jump from community club to a top NCAA school.
“I think it’s a change that I need, just to be in that team environment,” said Gabor. “I hear it’s crazy from people I know that are in it. I’m looking forward to it.
“Seeing how I would click with the team, I felt like I would really fit in.”
Gabor first caught the attention of Stanford head women’s swimming coach Lea Maurer more than a year ago at a meet in Victoria, but it wasn’t just her talents in the pool that won her over, it was her attitude out of the water as well.
“On the recruiting trip the team just fell in love with her personality and we felt like she was going to be a great asset to the university as well as our team,” said Maurer. “We’re hoping she’ll be a big role-player in the NCAA and basically we’re hoping to get her a berth on the Canadian Olympic team in 2012.”
A highly sought after school by high school graduates from throughout the US, Stanford’s woman’s swim team currently only has one Canadian on board, Rebecca Hinds from Toronto.
“The admissions standards for Stanford is one of the more difficult ones,” said Maurer. “I think only four per cent of people who apply get in.”
The future Stanford Cardinal has a long list of accomplishments besides cracking records – even from just the past couple seasons.
Last year Gabor became the first Yukoner to win a gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in PEI, winning two golds and two bronzes in total.
Before that, she competed at her first World Aquatic Championships in Rome. Not only did she become the first Glacier Bear to compete at that level, Gabor helped the national team reach eighth in the 4×200-metre freestyle. She also finished 20th in the 200-metre freestyle, leaving BC records in her wake.
Gabor will be back racing on the world stage at the World Aquatic Championships next month in Dubai, UAE, as a member of the Canadian team.
First she will be competing this weekend in Toronto at the same Canada Cup event in which she won gold at a year ago in the 200-metre freestyle, making her a national champion.
“I’m not going to be rested for Toronto, I’m just going to race,” said Gabor. “I haven’t fully tapered for this meet, I’m saving that for Dubai.”
Gabor is not the first Glacier Bear to move to a NCAA school on a full scholarship. This fall Bronwyn Pasloski made the jump to university-level competition, swimming for the University of Indiana.
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