Milligan Adds Abigail Jackson and Simon Popelka to 2023-24 Roster

by Emma Edmund 0

October 22nd, 2023 College, College Recruiting, NAIA

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Milligan University has added Abigail Jackson and Simon Popelka–both adept at freestyle and backstroke–to its roster.

I fell in love with not only Milligan but the team when I visited. Everyone made me feel like I was at home and I couldn’t wait to be apart of that!!” wrote Jackson, a graduate of Parkway High School in Louisiana.

At the Division 2 LHSAA Swimming Championships in 2022, Jackson finished 6th in the 100 free and 8th in the 50 free. She also competed for the YNWL Bolts prior to her first collegiate season.

Jackson’s best short-course yards times:

  • 100 free: 57.33
  • 500 free: 5:39.35
  • 100 back: 1:03.01

Popelka joins Milligan from Slovakia, where he was a FINA World Junior Championships qualifier. Polpeka is a graduate student pursuing his MBA.

“Best school ever and a great team. Excited for this opportunity!” he wrote about his commitment.

Polpeka’s best short-course yards times:

  • 100 free: 47.86
  • 100 back: 50.90
  • 200 back: 1:49.50

Milligan, a private university located in Tennessee, is part of the NAIA, and a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished first last year at the Appalachian Swimming and Diving Conference.

Jackson and Popelka will face a wide range of competitors this season, including against Division-I Gardner Webb on the 21st. 

“I say this every year, but yet again, this will be the hardest schedule yet,” said head coach Spencer Scarth in a press release. “The King Invite will segway us well into our competitive phase, and will be a good refresher on our conference location. We are looking forward to a few new meets this season—DI Gardner Webb, a host of DIs at the Gamecock Invite at SEC power South Carolina, DII Lenoir Rhyne, DIII Birmingham Southern and NAIA Loyola. We’re blessed to have so many unique opportunities to compete against high level programs that may not have even glanced at us a few years ago, and we are looking forward to starting our competitive phase soon!”

At the King Invitational at the beginning of October, Popelka finished 4th in the 200 fly with a time of 2:02.84; he also almost earned a provisional cut with his 2nd-place 400 IM finish (4:23.54).

In total, Jackson and Popelka join 10 other newcomers to Milligan’s roster. The new recruits include five women and seven men.

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