Spence Atkins will follow in the footsteps of her mother, a former collegiate All-American swimmer, and join the women’s swim team at the University of Tennessee.
“I am so unbelievably excited and proud to announce that I have committed to The University of Tennessee!” Atkins proclaimed. “I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing team and I can’t wait to see what the next four years have in store for me. I’m so thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way; it’s SO great to be a Tennessee Vol!”
Atkins comes from the heralded distance program at the Sarasota YMCA in Florida – one of the top prep distance programs in the country over the last half-decade at least.
Best times in yards:
- 100 free – 52.41
- 200 free – 1:49.30
- 500 free – 4:46.77
- 1000 free – 9:48.10
- 1650 free – 16:10.99
Atkins doesn’t have any one really weak stroke, but this will count as another feather in the growing distance group led by associate head coach Tyler Fenwick (he also got Taylor Abbott, one of the top men’s distance recruits in the class).
Her best times in yards would already put her in the scoring C Final of the 500 free at the SEC Championships, and her best time in the 1650 free would’ve placed 7th at last year’s SEC Championships.
Atkins will also have a shot at the Volunteers’ 800 free relay as a freshman. Their entire from SEC’s last year are seniors this season.
Atkins is a second-generation Tennessee Volunteer. Her mom is the former Tillie Patterson, who was a three-time All-American for the Volunteers in 1983 and 1987 and still ranks 11th in school history in the 100 yard fly. Her 55.80 set a school record in 1987 by more than half-a-second.