BRIDGEPORT, Pa. – The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) announced on Thursday (March 31) that former Michigan standout Shana Welch ’07 will be inducted in the CWPA Hall of Fame during the 2016 CWPA Championships in Cambridge, Mass. April 29-May 1.
“I am humbled and honored to be inducted into the CWPA Hall of Fame amongst the past inductees,” said Welch. “There have been so many talented and hard-working athletes who have come through the CWPA, so I’m thankful for being considered. I’d like to think I’m receiving the award in honor of all my coaches, teammates, and my family who supported me and pushed me throughout my career to be the best I can be.”
Welch becomes the second Michigan water polo player and 29th overall inductee into the CWPA Hall of Fame. Olympic gold medalist Betsey Armstrong was inducted in 2008.
“This award gives me the opportunity to reflect on my time at Michigan and in the CWPA and the hours I put in at the pool and weight room,” said Welch. “I truly appreciate all the opportunities that journey has afforded me. For this, I am infinitely grateful.”
Welch graduated from Michigan with a degree in sociology, focusing on inequality: race, class and gender. A member of the U-M all-decade team, she was a third team All-America selection in 2005 and two-time honorable mention All-American in 2006 and 2007.
“She is in special company,” said Michigan head coach Dr. Marcelo Leonardi. “As only the second Michigan player in the hall of fame it says a lot about what it means to make the hall of fame. She is a great role model for our student athletes as she is a hard worker and gives back to the community.”
During her time as a Wolverine, Welch was one of the best players in the CWPA. She was named the CWPA Division MVP three times and was the 2005 CWPA Rookie of the Year. Her nine CWPA Player of the Week honors are tied for second most by a Michigan player. She helped lead U-M to the 2005 CWPA Championship and four consecutive division crowns from 2004-07.
A tremendous offensive talent, Welch set Michigan records with 297 goals and 393 points in her career. Her 84 goals in 2005 are a single-season record as are her 126 points in 2007.
“She was a prolific scorer,” said Michigan head coach Dr. Marcelo Leonardi. “I remember flying to Ann Arbor in 2005 for the NCAA Championships and watching her play. She was one of the first people to reach out to me when I got hired at Michigan.
Michigan was 112-51 during Welch’s four-year career. After she graduated, Welch played professionally with the UWA Perth Comets in Australia for one year. She returned to Michigan as a strength and conditioning intern in 2008 before joining Bucknell’s swimming team as an assistant coach in 2008-09. She helped the Bison break 27 program records. She returned to water polo in 2009-10 as an assistant coach at Harvard before heading to Greece to play professionally again.
After her playing career was over, Welch attended the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Academy in 2013. She was the only woman accepted out of 4,000 applications and was hired as a firefighter/EMT for the city of Pasadena, Calif.
“Every day is rewarding,” said Welch. “Just being able to help others when they need it. When we get to see those we have helped after the fact and they are grateful for what we do, it always reaffirms why we do what we do.”
Swimming news courtesy of Michigan Water Polo.