Fourth-year distance free swimmer Chelsea Allocco has been named the fifth swimmer in New Paltz’s Women’s Swimming program’s history to receive the State University of New York Athletic Conference’s (SUNYAC) Grace Mowatt Award.
Head Coach Scott Whitbeck said each year the SUNYAC recognizes one female and one male fourth-year student-athlete that has had the best level of achievement over the course of their career, both in and out of the pool. Conference accomplishments, national achievements, career improvement, academics and community service are all taken into account when the coaches in the conference choose the recipients, Whitbeck said.
Allocco won the SUNYAC Championships in both the 400 individual medley and the 1,650 freestyle all four years of her career as a Hawk.
“She holds the conference record in both of these events and is an All-American athlete,” Whitbeck said. “On top of that, she’s a double major in math and computer science with a 3.72 GPA and will be graduating in May. It’s unbelievable.”
Allocco said receiving the accolade was an honor, and although she was hopeful to win the award, she was surprised she was chosen.
“Being the fifth [swimmer to receive the award], just shows how awesome our program is here,” Allocco said.
Making it her job to “try and work harder than anyone else,” along with coaching and the backing of her team, was what led to her continued improvement and success, Allocco said.
“A ton of people on my team work really hard, which helps to push me,” she said. “The support of my team is everything to me. When I see them cheering on the sidelines while I’m in the water swimming it makes pushing myself just a little bit harder more bearable.”
Allocco believes her discipline in the classroom was both a product and source of her discipline in the pool.
“Once you learn to discipline yourself in one way, it often carries over to other parts of your life,” Allocco said. “It’s all about learning to balance what you have to do with how much time you have.
Allocco contributed heavily to the Lady Hawks’ third place finish at the SUNYAC Championship, being the highest point scorer for the team with two first place finishes.
“She is the biggest reason for our success this year,” Whitbeck said. “She’s the best distance swimmer the program has ever seen.”
Allocco will compete in the 500 freestyle and the 1,650 freestyle, as well as the 400 individual medley as an optional entry, when she attends the 2014 NCAA Div. III Swimming & Diving Championship in Indianapolis March 19-23.
Seeded 11th in the 500 freestyle (4:58.01), 15th in the 1,650 freestyle (17:11.12) and 21st in the 400 individual medley (4:30.86), Allocco has high goals as to how she hopes to end her final season.
“My ultimate goal for nationals is to come in the top eight in at least one event, and make top 16 in all three,” Allocco said. “That would be absolutely amazing.”