During the final eight weeks of the spring semester, CisternYard Sports will be releasing a feature story each week on a student athlete at the College of Charleston that our sports staff thinks you should know. This week, we highlight senior Sarah Boyle from the women’s swimming and diving team.
The success that the women’s swimming and diving team has seen over the last few years can be attributed to many factors: the addition of a new coach, the move to a more competitive conference, and the recruitment of more talented swimmers. However, a key component in the Cougars’ recent success has been the superb performance of senior Sarah Boyle.
Boyle has spent most of her life in the world of swimming. Beginning at eight years old, her senior season has marked her 13th year in the pool, so her experience has played a crucial role in her success.
A business administration major from Columbia, S.C., Boyle has certainly made waves during her four years at the College. She was a highly acclaimed recruit out of Spring Valley High School, and made a splash right from the start of her college career.
She immediately broke several school records in the fall of her freshman year, including setting a record in the 200-yard backstroke at the 2010 Wingate Fall Frenzy. In addition, she held the top individual times on the team in 50-yard back, 100-yard back, 200-yard back and in the 100-yard butterfly.
Boyle was named to the CCSA All-Academic List during her freshman season.
In her sophomore year, she continued to set new records at Charleston. She set three new individual school records and was a part of two school record relay teams in 2012. At the CCSA conference championship, she won the title in the 200-yard backstroke with a school-record time.
Her junior season followed the same record breaking theme. She improved on her own school record time in the 100 backstroke and was part of two school-record relay teams in the 200 medley and 400 medley relays.
The 2014 season, however, has proved to be even more successful for women’s swimming and diving team, especially for Boyle. In her senior season, the College of Charleston joined the more competitive Colonial Athletic Association, and Boyle continued to excel.
At February’s CAA Championship in College Park, Md., the College of Charleston won two events in the women’s division, both by Boyle.
Because of the new conference and the travel involved, Boyle acknowledges that the championship was her favorite moment of her senior season.
“Flying to Maryland with the team for our conference meet was a blast. I loved the ‘big league’ feel that the new conference had and I’m excited to see the great things that the team will accomplish in the future,” Boyle said.
Boyle, despite her achievements and success, finds it hard to pick a certain favorite accomplishment or memory from her time swimming for Charleston.
“Every practice and every meet has a different set of amazing memories. From beating UNCW as a team to winning two individual medals at conference, its impossible to pick a favorite.”
Transitioning to a larger conference during her senior campaign after competing in the swimming-exclusive CCSA for the past three years has been a learning experience for Boyle and her teammates.
“At first I was nervous about entering a new conference, especially one that was so much bigger and faster than our old conference. Looking back on this past season though, we had the opportunity to swim some really great teams. It was amazing to see our team rise to the challenge of competing with such fast swimmers. Entering the CAA has made our team work harder and the results have shown that we belong in this new conference.”
Boyle also noted something that all college athletes can certainly relate to.
“Swimming in college has also taught me to work hard and how to prioritize my time.”
She has enjoyed the privilege that comes along with representing the College and has loved swimming for the Cougars.
“The best part about swimming for the College is that I have had the chance to represent my school across the entire east coast. I have also enjoyed getting to see ‘behind the scenes’ of all the athletic events and I love the sense of community that exists between all the athletes.”
As she prepares to graduate, Boyle has no plans to leave her passion for swimming behind. She has not ruled out the possibility of jumping back in the pool to train and compete with a masters team.
Athletes like Boyle are what make College of Charleston athletics teams first class. They contribute both inside and outside the classroom, while aspiring to achieve great things in their careers outside of athletics.
As for her plans outside of the pool, she currently has an internship at Wild Dunes Resort, where she expands upon skills learned in her hospitality and tourism management classes. She also has potential plans to attend law school.
And if none of that happens to work out for her, she knows she will always have one great skill.
“I guess I can always swim!”
Check back next Friday for the second edition in our “Eight for Eight” series on men’s cross country star, MacKenzie Johnson.