Given the countless hours she has spent training at the Carson Valley Swim Center, there was no better venue on Wednesday for Shaelin Morefield to sign her national-letter-of-intent to swim for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
And there was no doubt in the Douglas High School senior’s mind when she signed her letter in front of about three dozen friends, teammates and family members.
“Cal Poly has been my No. 1 choice for a while,” she said. “I went with my brother, Cameron, to visit the campus and when we got there I just fell in love with it.”
Morefield’s good marks in the pool have also carried over into the classroom, as can be seen by a 4.3 grade point average that includes AP honors classes as well as USA Swimming Scholastic All-American recognition in 2011-12 and 2012-13. So not surprisingly, her selection was based on more than swimming.
“I’m interested in architecture and when I saw what Cal Poly had to offer, I fell in love with it even more,” she added. “The combination of strong academics, a good location, and a positive team atmosphere make it the perfect choice.”
The 6-foot tall Morefield has had a big year in 2013, including third-place performances in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 butterfly for Douglas High School at the NIAA state championships in May. Her success carried over to the summer with a ninth-place finish for the Douglas Dolfins in the 200-meter butterfly (2:19.28) at the Speedo Championship Summer Sectional meet in Santa Clarita, Calif. — a meet where she broke four Dolfins’ 17-18 age group records — and first-place in the 200 butterfly (2:20.17) at the North American Challenge Cup all-star meet in Federal Way, Wash.
Morefield, along with Dolfins teammate Shelby Koontz, have another big meet coming up on Dec. 12-14 when they compete at the Speedo Winter Junior National Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
“Shelby and I are definitely ready,” she said. “I think we’re going to have a good meet.”
This success has been the result of hard work inside and outside the pool.
“She’s always been a talented swimmer, ever since she was 8-and-under (age group),” said Dolfins coach Sarah Davenport. “She’s a hard worker, and it’s been a combination of hard work and the support of her parents.”
Cal Poly fields a Division I program — the women compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation — that was represented at the NCAA Championships this past season when Rachel O’Brien finished 18th in the 200-yard butterfly.
“Tom and Phil are both accomplished and supportive coaches and I am thrilled to be able to swim for them,” Morefield noted, referring to Cal Poly’s Tom Milich (head coach) and Phil Yoshia (assistant coach).
Morefield is looking forward to her senior season for the Douglas Tigers this spring and beyond — “She just keeps getting better,” Davenport said. She is happy to have her college plans in order, too.
“It’s nice to finally have it here,” she said. “Now, I don’t have to worry about impressing coaches. I can just swim for myself.”