By: Tessa Walsh
Gardner-Webb Swimming’s Nathan Lile made program history by being invited to attend Division One NCAAs. The senior was the first male to be invited to the meet in Gardner-Webb’s history.
Lile’s 50-yard freestyle time that qualified him for the meet was done at the Bulldog Last Chance Meet in Athens, GA on Feb. 27 at 19.49 seconds. His time earned him the spot of 23rd in the nation, where only 29 were invited to the Division One NCAAs.
In addition to the 50-yard freestyle, Lile earned a spot in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly as bonus events.
He has won several awards and currently holds seven individual school records, as well as four individual conference records. Lile was also named Costal Colligate Swimming Association’s (CCSA) Most Outstanding Male Swimmer of the year his junior and senior year.
“Making the national meet is an incredible way to finish [his] college career,” said Mike Simpson, head swimming coach. “Statistically it is the fastest meet in the world every year. So we’re really proud of the work that he put in and the accomplishment of making the meet.”
Lile said that it has been his purpose to make Division One NCAA since being recruited four years ago. “[The] Division One NCAA is the deepest, most competitive meet in the world,” said Lile. “I want to be a part of that.”
This year in particular, he has been more intentional to get feedback from his coaches. “I’m a sprinter, so all the details are a really big deal.”
In regards to swimming in general, Lile feels as though it’s helped him to be a better person. “It’s made me be able to tolerate just about anything – if you can make it through a really awful swim practice, [then] there isn’t really anything that can compare.”
The Division One NCAAs will be held in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, on March 23-26.