NCAA Division III Runner-Up Meg Peel Transfers to Alabama

After 2 seasons at Division III Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Meg Peel will transfer to the University of Alabama to finish her collegiate swimming career. Peel was the NCAA Divisionn II runner-up last season in the 200 yard backstroke, finishing in 1:58.50 (behind Kenyon sophomore Crile Hart, who was a 1:56.62.

“I am super excited for the opportunity to join such a great program! I look forward to what the future holds! I couldn’t have done this without my experience at Hope College. Roll tide!!”

She’ll join a new-look Alabama program next season under new head coach Coley Stickels, who took the job when Dennis Pursley retired at the end of the 2018-2019 collegiate season.

She leaves Hope College as the school record holder in the 100 back (55.64), 200 back (1:58.50), and as part of the record-holding 200 medley and 200 free relays.

Peel thrived at Hope, where the women finished 27th at last year’s NCAA Division III National Championship meet. In 2019, Peel helped the team to the MIAA Conference Championship, which was their first since 2004. The school’s head coach John Patnott retired at the end of the season after 39 years at Hope.

Peel’s Improvement Curve:

Sr in High School College freshman
College sophomore
50 free 25.32 24.7 23.79
100 back 57.51 56.01 55.64
200 back 2:04.20 2:00.77 1:58.50

The 200 back, Peel’s best event, is an event where Alabama did not have particular depth last season. Their top performer was freshman Rhyan White, a US Youth Olympic Games team member, who ranked 17th in the SEC in that event. She was the school’s only swimmer in the top 32 in the conference. It took a 53.86 in the 100 back and a 1:56.25 in the 200 back to score at last year’s SEC Conference Championship meet.

Peel is a Michigan native, growing up training at Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics.

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Probably due to her boyfriend being an Alabama swimmer


or maybe because she’s ready for the next level and believes in the new coaching staff at Alabama!


What a sexist implication. Her time progressions are really significant – to the point where she’s definitely in need of a faster training group. Let’s celebrate Meg’s accomplishment of transferring to a big time D1 school and not make assumptions that the reason for the transfer is anything but swimming or academic related.


How is that sexist? I’m confused.


: :


While she has her reasons for sure (and is absolutely entitled to those reasons), you saying “her time progressions…point where she’s definitely in need of a faster training group” is such a poorly, closed-minded way of viewing her current training group, coaches, and program. There’s a lot of excellent coaches at the “lower” levels, some of which frankly get more out of their crop of swimmers than some of the “top” level coaches.

Coach A

I say good for her. But obviously she was with a good group that helped her improve quite a bit. Why not stay there, keep improving and become an NCAA champion? She could continue to improve at ‘bama, make the NCAA DI meet next year and do great things. sometimes, though, the first year with a new coach might not be all that great. She might be watching SEC finals from the team seating area and not swimming at night. hope she does well and is happy with her decision


The article says the Hope College coach left after 39 years. Maybe she figures that if she’s going to have to adjust to a new coach anyways, might as well do it at a Div-1 school at a program that has some excitement and a coach with a proven track record.


The new coach was a co-head coach this past season, and was also a former swimmer at Hope, so she had adjustment time as well as growth and great improvement with the coaching staff. It seems that her reasons probably lie outside of just swimming, which is ok. Don’t assume that motivations are all about the sport. There is truth to the fact that her boyfriend does attend Alabama. And maybe she wanted a larger school? Maybe it was a better fit academically? Maybe she just wanted a chance to compete Division 1? Whatever the case, it is a loss for Hope, but just based on current times…not really a gain for Alabama (yet).


Most likely, oh well, good for her,


Lots of potential and room to grow. Will be cool to see what she can accomplish. Congrats to her


Outstanding! Go Meg! I predict that many great things will happen over the next two years at Alabama!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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