UNC Pembroke Pool Named After Olympian, 10-Time NCAA Champion Sue Walsh

by SwimSwam 2

August 30th, 2023 College, NCAA Division II, News

Courtesy: UNC Pembroke Athletics

PEMBROKE –  Officials at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced Saturday that, as a result of the continued philanthropy of the Dick & Lenore Taylor family, the swimming pool has been named for former collegiate and Olympic swimmer, Sue Walsh.

“We are honored that your name, in perpetuity, be associated with our university and our aquatics center,” said Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings during Friday’s dedication. “To you, Sue, your family and your friends, please know that UNC Pembroke is excited, we’re honored and we are inspired to honor such a great legend.”

A native of Hamburg, N.Y., Walsh is a 1984 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a member of the swim team. In her time with the Tar Heels, Walsh won 10 national collegiate individual championships and was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer at the ACC Championships three times.

I don’t think any of us ever dreamed of having something named for us, but for someone who has devoted much of her life to the sport of swimming in one capacity or another, it means so much to have the pool at UNC-Pembroke named in my honor. I spent over 30 years empowering and championing student athletes at the University of North Carolina, and although it was a difficult decision to retire in 2020, my daughters were starting families of their own and I wanted to be able to play an important role in my grandchildren’s lives. Despite my current health challenge, I try to remain as involved in the sport as I can and I’m currently devoting my time to Swim Across America and events they are hosting here in my home state of North Carolina.

During her time at UNC and then into her career in Advancement in Chapel Hill, Walsh developed a family-like bond with Robeson County residents Dick & Lenore Taylor.

“Sue was not only an exceptional athlete, but she was also a very, very good student”, said Lenore Taylor. “This lady has done everything you can do and more.”

“Sue’s achievements are aspirational for our young women that will get to swim in this facility daily,” said Director of Athletics Dick Christy. “We are very appreciative to Lenore and the Taylor family for not just their support, but finding such a meaningful way to tie this legacy to our program.”

Sue Walsh and her family at the dedication.

After her swim career, Walsh spent a career cultivating community relationships in university fundraising for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“This is quite an honor today”, said Walsh. “I don’t know that any of us every dream of something being named after us. I know I certainly never had.”

Walsh, one of the most decorated athletes to ever compete at the University of North Carolina, was selected as a member of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association’s (CSCAA) 100 Greatest Swimmers & Divers of the past century.

Walsh was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, won a 100-meter backstroke gold medal at the 1983 Pan-American Games and held American records in multiple backstroke events.

“When I was a very young girl, I remember watching the swimming at the summer Olympics and saying to myself, ‘Why not me’? Because of the support of my family as well as the sacrifices that they made, I was able to change the ‘why not I’, ‘I can” and “I did’.

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5 months ago

A fitting honor for Sue. From Zwicker Aquatic to the big time at UNC, she was a star all through her career. Congratulation’s!

Calvin Locklear
5 months ago

Congratulations MS.Sue. UNCP is an excellent school.