Fitter and Faster Swim Camps is the proud sponsor of SwimSwam’s College Recruiting Channel and all commitment news. For many, swimming in college is a lifelong dream that is pursued with dedication and determination. Fitter and Faster is proud to honor these athletes and those who supported them on their journey.
Electing to make the short trip from Marietta, Georgia to Birmingham, Alabama this fall, Natalie Stafford has announced her decision to continue her athletic career at Birmingham Southern College. Stafford recently finished her senior season at Pope High School and swims club with the Chattahoochee Gold Swim Club.
In February, Stafford qualified to compete in both of her individual events at the GHSA 6-7A Swimming and Diving State Championships. At that meet, she competed in both the 100 breast (1:12.06) and 100 fly (1:04.23).
Stafford set many of her lifetime best times last December while racing at the Georgia LSC Short Course State Championships. At that meet, she posted lifetime bests in the 100 breast (1:10.22) and 100 fly (1:03.98), as well as 50 breast (32.28) and 50 fly (29.58). Her time in the 50 breast was fast enough to earn a second swim in the event, ultimately finishing in 28th.
Top SCY Times
- 100 breast – 1:10.22
- 200 breast – 2:34.54
- 100 fly – 1:03.98
- 200 fly – 2:23.99
- 200 IM – 2:28.34
Birmingham Southern’s program is relatively new, having only begun in the fall of 2012. Since it’s founding, the team has been led by head coach Toby Wilcox, who led the program to a it’s sixth straight Southern Athletic Association Championships title this spring. The team was led at that meet by Mary Katherine Stewart, a senior who finished the meet with a pair of first place finishes in the 500 free and 200 back.
Birmingham Southern graduated one of it’s top performers in the fly and breast events this year, leaving the opportunity for Stafford to impact the team immediately after arriving on campus this fall. Last season, Stafford’s best times would have ranked her as the team’s fourth fastest performer in the 100 breast and 6th fastest in the 100 fly.
Stafford will also be capable of making an immediate scoring impact at the SAA Championships. In 2022, she would have scored in the B-final of the 100 breast, 100 fly, 200 breast, and 200 fly.
Stafford will be joined in Birmingham Southern’s class of 2026 by Emma O’Niell, a distance specialist from Pensacola, Florida.
If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].
About the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour
Fitter & Faster Swim Camps feature the most innovative teaching platforms for competitive swimmers of all levels. Camps are produced year-round throughout the USA and Canada. All camps are led by elite swimmers and coaches. Visit fitterandfaster.com to find or request a swim camp near you.
FFT is a SwimSwam partner.