Rebecca Westfall joined the UNC Asheville Bulldogs as Assistant Coach at the start of the 2014/2015 season. Westfall brings an abundance of expertise to the young program after having a successful collegiate career herself.
Westfall grew up in Anacortes, Washington with her parents and younger sister. Gary Sturdy, her dad, fostered her love of the sport as both a parent and a coach. She was well prepared for high school and left a legacy still seen there today.
Westfall’s impressive high school times qualified her for seven events at Nationals. Even more, she qualified for the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. The following year she raced to a third place finish in the 100 fly at the 2001 US Open Championships. By the time she graduated high school, Westfall was named Anacortes High School swimmer of the year four times and NISCA Washington State High School Swimmer of the Year her senior year. She was champion in the 100 butterfly three times, the 100 backstroke once and raced to numerous other top five individual finishes. Upon graduating, she held every Anacortes High School swimming record, only the 100 breaststroke has been broken since.
After an impressive high school career, Westfall joined the Fighting Texas Aggie class of 2007 at Texas A&M. She anchored the 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relays her freshman year at the Big XII Conference Championships. The relays were the Aggie’s first ever conference titles. Westfall was named the Big XII Newcomer of the Year her freshman year. That same year, she competed in her second Olympic Trials. In four short years the Aggies went from relay champions to overall Big XII Conference Champions. Every point was valuable to the Aggie’s that year, they won by a single point. Texas A&M finished that year as the eighth place team in the nation at National Championships. One of Westfall’s defining collegiate career moments was anchoring the 400 freestyle relay that year. She graduated Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management with minors in Business and History.
Westfall’s experience building a program at Texas A&M has given her experience in her coaching career. She was the Director of Swimming and Aquatics at Adams State College, reviving the men’s swim team after a 40-year hiatus and starting the first ever women’s team. She was an Interim Head Coach at Emory and Henry. The swimmers raced to 100% personal best times at ODAC Conference Championships. Directly prior to Asheville, Westfall was an assistant coach at Warren Wilson College, specializing in the biomechanics of race technique.
Westfall joined the young Bulldog program at the start of the 2014/2015 season. She brings expertise in the physics behind technique and speed work. Westfall says her proudest moments as an Assistant Coach at Asheville are the “light bulb,” moments swimmers have when a technique or race concept finally clicks.
Her advice for college swimmers is derived from a quote by her favorite author, John Wooden. Westfall’s advice is, “be true to yourself and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about who you are and who you want to become.”