Backstroker Vivian Pickeral Opts To Stay In-State, Commits To Washington and Lee For 2024

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Vivian Pickeral, a member of the Virginia Gators, has chosen to remain in-state with her commitment to swim and study at Washington and Lee University beginning this fall. The Roanoke, Va.-based student athlete will relocate about an hour north to the university’s campus in Lexington, Va.

Pickeral moved to Roanoke from Washington, D.C. and began attending North Cross School as a sophomore. She made her mark on the school in short order, excelling academically, earning swim team MVP, making four trips to the top of the podium as Blue Ridge Athletic Conference (BRAC) champion, and being named BRAC swimmer of the year.

In addition to being a decorated high school swimmer and scholar-athlete award winner, Pickerall is a lifeguard, swim instructor, and coach.

Outside of the pool, Pickeral is a three-time book award and leadership award recipient, homecoming queen, and varsity-letter winner in field hockey and lacrosse. She is involved in student government and the community service organization Turn the Page.

She signed her letter of intent earlier this month during her school’s National Signing Day ceremony.

North Cross School finished 19th of 31 girls’ teams last weekend at the 2024 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic  Association (VISAA) Swimming & Diving Championship. Pickeral was her team’s high-point scorer, returning for finals in both of her individual events and placing 9th in 100 back (59.85) and 12th in 100 fly (59.60).

Pickeral’s 100 fly performance represented a drop of almost half a second vs. her previous best set a year earlier at the same meet.

She also anchored the 200 medley relay (24.57) and 400 free relay (55.43) with splits that suggest new PBs are within reach.

Top SCY Times

  • 50 free – 25.09
  • 100 free – 55.52
  • 200 free – 2:01.86
  • 100 back – 57.93
  • 200 back – 2:08.24
  • 200 breast – 2:42.27
  • 100 fly – 59.60
  • 200 fly – 2:21.58
  • 200 IM – 2:17.90
  • 400 IM – 4:58.29

The DIII Washington and Lee Generals compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) led by head coach Kami Gardner. The Generals wrapped up their 2023-2024 season with Gardner being named ODAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year and the team winning their 33rd championship by 282 points ahead of #2 Roanoke College.

Pickeral is poised to contribute points to the scoreboard for Washington and Lee right out of the gate. Her best time in the 100 back would have placed 3rd at the 2024 ODAC Championships, while her 200 back and 100 fly would have been good for 4th place.

Additionally, her current best times in the 200 fly, 200 breast, 200/400 IM, and 50 free are fast enough to have qualified for the ‘B’ final.

The Generals had one finalist in the 100 back and 100 fly at the conference championships; Bella Tarbet, a junior, took 1st in 100 fly (56.14), and senior Sophia Rollo placed 2nd in 100 back (56.79). Rollo took 1st in 200 back (2:02.35) and was joined in finals by Tess Deyerie, also a senior, who took 4th (2:08.54).

As Tarbet is the only 100/200 back or 100 fly finalist returning to swim for Washington and Lee next season, Pickeral’s addition is valuable in reloading the Generals’ roster in these events.

The program’s back and fly reload will include Texans Coco Proctor, a 57.40/2:04.86 backstroker from Nitro Swimming, and Peighton Kruzel, a 57.86/2:09.79 butterflier from Lakeside Aquatic Club.

Joining them in Washington and Lee’s class of 2028 are Virginians Celia Bredehoeft (free/IM) and Marcy Mortimer (IM/free), as well as Keener Witmer (free) from Wilmington, N.C., and Alli Badeaux (IM) from Covington, La.

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