Mayo earns Big East weekly honor for swim team

Meaghan Bedigian

Emily Mayo, a sophomore on the swim & dive team, was named the “Big East Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week” on the week of Nov. 26.   

Mayo is a native of Centennial, Co., slightly south of Denver.  She states that although it was not a huge transition coming to the Philadelphia area, she does miss the mountains of her home state.  

This may be largely due to her love for skiing. Mayo began skiing at the age of three and never looked back. Her parents were skiing lovers and wanted her to come with them as soon as possible. However, Mayo’s real area of expertise is in the swimming pool. 

One of the main influences in the start of Mayo’s swimming career was the fact that she grew up living in the same neighborhood as Missy Franklin, the 19-year-old, four-time Olympic swimmer gold medalist.  

At the age of six, Franklin and some other girls from Mayo’s neighborhood began swimming, and Mayo’s mother encouraged her to do the same.  Mayo thought she would give it a try, and since then her life has never been the same.

When Mayo was young, her favorite part of swimming was just hanging out with all her friends on the team. 

However, now it has grown into something she earnestly “loves and adores, and can’t imagine life without it.”  

  Mayo says that being on the team forces her to be more productive with her schoolwork, and she can’t imagine her college experience without the swim & dive team.  

Her favorite part about the team is the family atmosphere.  She describes her class in particular as especially close. “They are more like my family than anything,” Mayo states. 

The family atmosphere of Villanova’s campus was actually one of the main reasons Mayo decided to commit to swimming at the University. She also stated that the great coaches found at Villanova and all they had to offer made her interested in coming to Villanova. Additionally, as a prospective accounting major, the prestigious reputation of the School of Business was extremely appealing to Mayo.  

Mayo is mainly a freestyle swimmer. This is both her favorite stroke and her specialty. She mainly swims in the longer races, like the mile or the two-mile heats.   

Regarding the season so far, Mayo believes the team has been pretty successful. One big win for the Wildcats came against Virginia Tech – a member of the ACC.  She states, “We’ve really stepped up and won some crucial races.” 

Mayo is also pleased with her performance so far this season but is still always looking to improve her times and help her team out as much as possible. Her ultimate goal for the team is to uphold their title as Big East Champions from last year.   

In order to achieve the title of “Swimmer of the Week” Mayo exhibited an outstanding performance at the H2Okie Fall Invitational hosted by Virginia Tech. She earned an NCAA B-cut time in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:47.56.  

She received fourth place in both the 200-frees and 1,650-free, surpassing the Big East Championship A-cut times in all three events. 

As to being named the Big East swimmer of the week, Mayo describes it as a great honor. “It’s cool to see the conference paying attention to what Villanova swimmers are doing each week,” states Mayo.  

She hopes that it will bring more recognition to swimming from Villanova, especially since several of her teammates have received the award already this season as well. She found this aspect the most exciting part of winning the award – it truly shows the success of the Wildcat swimmers this year.  

This past weekend, Mayo and seven other members of the Wildcats attended the USA Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Anyone who has qualifying times can attend this event, even those in high school or the professionals. 

The events commenced last Thursday morning and continued into Saturday afternoon. Although after the morning preliminary races the Wildcats did not qualify for the Thursday evening finals, Mayo lead the ‘Cats with a 500 free time of 4:51.95. 

On Friday, the women finished the day in 12th place in the 200 free relay, with senior Katrin Heider leading the Wildcats with a time of 1:49.19. Mayo finished at 1:50.54 and junior Kaisla Kollanus at 1:56.21.

At the conclusion of the events on Saturday, Mayo swam a 16:28.53 in the 1650 final, capturing 17th place (which was about a 1:15 behind the winner). In the 400 free relay finals, senior Sara Jurek, junior Fiona Hardie, Kollanus and Heider finished in 13th with a time of 3:25.44.4 

This was the Wildcats’ last tournament until the New Year, when they will face teams like NC State, Providence and Richmond throughout the month of January.  

After these meets, the Wildcats will go on to compete in the Big East Championships and hopefully bring back a title to Villanova once again.