Ashburn, Va. — Briar Woods High School senior Bethany Gatlin has made a commitment to continue her swimming career at the University of Nebraska Omaha beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year.
“From the very beginning, I could tell there was just something so special about not only the program but the coaches, too,” the 5-foot-8 Gatlin said. “When I went to my official visit in September I instantly felt I was already a part of the Maverick family.”
While committing to Nebraska Omaha gave Gatlin a sense of relief, the year leading up to her commitment was a bit tumultuous.
“Last year was a scary year for me when I had to cut my season short to have shoulder surgery due to a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome that had been prohibiting me from swimming due to the symptoms. I was unsure if I would even be able to commit anywhere,” Gatlin said. “But through it all, Nebraska Omaha actually wanted to talk more to me and encourage me to not get down but to do as much as I could to get ready to get back into the water.”
That encouragement will continue to pour in when Gatlin heads to Omaha next fall. Led by longtime head coach Todd Samland, the Division I Mavericks got off to a slow start in 2017-2018 but most recently won their senior night meet against Western Illinois on January 26.
“During the practice I observed during my official visit, they were all yelling across the pool telling each other how well they were doing, and I love and want to be a part of that,” said Gatlin, who offers Nebraska Omaha flexibility in her stroke capacity. “I just want to continue and be a part of that great team environment because that may just help me get to my ultimate goal in college: NCAA championships.”
Before getting her shot at competing collegiately, Gatlin will finish her senior season at Briar Woods. On January 26, Gatlin and the Falcons swept the boys and girls Potomac District championships.
Gatlin is currently ranked in the LoCo Top Times Top 10 in six of the seven events she swam this winter:
- No. 4 – 200-yard freestyle (1:58.00)
- No. 8 – 200-yard IM (2:12.40)
- No. 6 – 50-yard freestyle (24.97)
- No. 8 – 100-yard butterfly (59.88)
- No. 7 – 100-yard freestyle (54.35)
- No. 7 – 500-yard freestyle (5:18.72)
“We are very competitive and strive to be our best at every meet and I love that about our team. I’m very competitive and when the rest of your team is also it helps to bring that team environment and helps us to reach our ultimate goal of placing the highest we can going into the region and state meets,” said Gatlin. “But even when we are competing, we all find a way to smile and joke around through it all even seconds before our races.”