The following is a press release courtesy of Fresno Pacific:
FPU’s Swanson earns highest annual honor
Fresno Pacific held its annual awards celebration last week at “Student-Athlete Appreciation Day”, celebrating its third season in the NCAA Division II and the Pacific West Conference.
The department’s highest annual honor, Sunbird of the Year (given to an athlete with high GPA, sport excellence, strong Christian witness and leadership example), went to senior Kendall Swanson (women’s swimming)
Swanson was one of the stories of the year, coming into the season ranked as the top breaststroke swimmer in the nation before finding out, through no fault of her own, that she would not be able to compete for an NCAA championship in her senior year due to the extra year of transition imposed by the NCAA following the actions of the tennis program (which has since been suspended). The added transition year affected Swanson and the swimming & diving team more than any other program because there were no alternative championships to compete in such as the NCCAA. Through it all, she never showed any bitterness or poor attitude. Instead, her leadership set the tone for the rest of her team and the Sunbirds turned in a record-setting season.
She finished the year with the top breastroke time in the nation at the Division II level in both the 100 and 200. For the past two years, she has gone undefeated in the 100 breaststroke not only against D2 competition but several top-tier Division I schools as well. She was the PCSC conference champion in multiple events and will graduate with three individual school records: the 100 breast (1:01.20), 200 breast (2:13.25) and 200 IM (2:04.18). Had she been given the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships during the transition years, her times would have made her a multiple time All-American and the school’s first NCAA individual national champion. Swanson is also a strong Christian witness on her team and in the community. She coaches locally in Kingsburg and Selma and has established a tremendous reputation with other coaches, parents and swimmers. Her story was featured on CBS-47 earlier this year. Swanson excelled in the classroom as well, and will graduate with a degree in kinesiology.