JEFFERSON CITY—The Carson-Newman swim team has been ranked fourth on the women's side and fifth on the men's in the NCAA Division II Scholar All-American rankings.
The women's team boasts a grade point average of 3.67 while the men hold an average of 3.41. The men are the only Bluegrass Mountain Conference member in the top-ten while the women are joined by Emmanuel.
"I'm always going to preach to these guys that nobody is going ask you what your best time was in swimming," Carson-Newman coach Jordan Taylor said. "It's going to be about your grades, internships and the academic side of things. That's where their future is going to lie."
It is the third consecutive year that both the men and women have been nationally ranked academically. In the pool, both teams are in the top-25 as well. The men and women both sit at 15th in the nation.
28 different Eagles made it to Carson-Newman's Dean's List and a plethora of swimmers received perfect 4.0 GPAs.
"The support from the school has been fantastic," Taylor said. "The professors, study hall, study groups and the writing center. All of the opportunities available here have helped us succeed in the classroom."
In Taylor's early years as a graduate assistant for the team, both sides barely snuck in as Scholar All-American teams. The threshold for the honor is a team GPA above a 3.0.
"It kind of tells you the type of people we have on our team," Taylor said. "We have great results and effort as far as the workouts this season and then obviously they're putting the work in when it comes to the classroom as well. I get good reports from the professors. The professors like having the swimmers in their class, they represent us well."
Taylor believes excellence in the classroom is key to future success outside of the pool.
"That's where their future lies and they understand that," Taylor said. "With the average on the team being a 3.5 between guys and girls, it gives most of the team the chance to go to graduate school to get the career that they want which is what we're really looking for."
"We'd be doing them a disservice if they had just a good swimming career and they couldn't go to graduate school and pursue the career they want," Taylor said.
The team is currently preparing for the BMC Conference Championships from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16 in Charlotte, N.C.