Varun Maheshwari ‘23

Sports Writer

It’s in the genes: Shelby Stanley ‘23 poses with her sister Olivia Stanley ‘20 during a meet against Queens. Olivia was one of the reasons Shelby chose to swim at Davidson.
Photo courtesy of Shelby Stanley ‘23

When top athletic talent comes to Davidson these athletes make their mark quickly. “As rated by CollegeSwimming.com, Shelby Stanley ‘23 was rated a top 100 recruit in the nation when she signed with Davidson, “and that is a level of highschool performer we do not often recruit…” stated women’s swimming & diving Head Coach John Young. 

Stanley ultimately chose Davidson to follow in her sister’s  [Olivia Stanley’s ‘20] footsteps. Bringing Stanley to campus would prove very fruitful for the ‘Cats swim team, as she went on to break a school record in the 200 Individual Medley at the Bucknell Invitation meet on December 6th. 

Stanley is originally from Roanoke, Virginia, had an impressive resume prior to coming to Davidson; a resume that has gotten bigger and better in her short time here so far. 

Before Davidson, she helped her high school (Patrick Henry High) win four state titles and she was invited to train with the U.S National Team after high school. She also swam on the nationally known Virginia Gators club swim team prior to joining the ‘Cats. 

Stanley’s fall season was characterized by ups and downs. She has been named A-10 rookie of the week on three separate occasions and already holds a school record. On the downside, she dealt with mononucleosis (more commonly known as mono) for a large part of the season. “One of her rookie of the week awards was while she was symptomatic with mono […] which is a testament to her talent and toughness,” said Coach Young. 

In total, Shelby missed two meets and three weeks of training, and her ailment hurt the team’s results during those meets. However, a recovering Stanley wowed all the fans, her coaches, and even herself on Dec 6th. 

Racing in the 200 Individual Medley features four 50 meter lengths of different strokes across the pool, starting with the butterfly stroke followed by backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. In this event, Stanley shattered the school record, putting up a time of 2:00.43, beating the previous record of 2:01.62 by over a full second. 

“The moment I looked at the scoreboard, I knew I had broken it, but while I was swimming, I had no grasp on how fast I was going, […] I just started smiling,” laughed Stanley. 

As she looked up, her team started chanting, the crowd was bursting with pride along with Coach Young who had just seen her freshman recruit break a record days after recovering from mono. 

While the ‘Cats have a talented freshman class,  breaking records is not their end goal. For Coach Young, for Shelby and the rest of the team, the A-10 championship is their priority. February 19th-22nd will be the defining days for this talented, young swim team as they compete to take home the A-10 Championship. “I am willing to assert the college records after A-10s will not be the same as they are now and how that plays out will be fun for our team and fun for the folks pursuing that record,” said Coach Young.