Freshman swimmer Dani Albright made First Team All-Sun Belt after a conference meet in which she was part of the conference-record setting 800 freestyle relay team and conference-record tying 400 free relay team. Through the season, she produced strong times in the 100 free, 200 free and 500 free.
And, now, she's done, FIU swimming coach Randy Horner confirmed Friday.
"She said at midseason, she decided she didn't want to swim anymore," Horner said. "It's not what she wanted to do with herself all through college. She wanted to live more of a normal life."
Horner admitted it's a hard loss for the program. Albright, he felt, could've qualified for the NCAAs by her junior year. But, he said, once you lose the passion for swimming...
Horner said sophomore Hannah Mitchell also would be transferring and leaving competitive swimming.
Perhaps more than any sport, being even a mediocre collegiate swimmer requires a delicate balance. Not a balanced life -- that's not happening. But a balance between being almost disciple devoted to the sport and getting the most out of what little remains of that irreplaceable commodity, time.
That balanced imbalance must be maintained from youth. Nobody's a latecomer to swimming at this level. There's no "I didn't start swimming until my junior year of high school" among swimmers, the way you hear in football, basketball, baseball, even track.
Albright's 18, the same age FIU sophomore Johanna Gustafsdottir was when she decided she'd had enough of competitive swimming. There's something to wanting to spend more afternoons being a normal college student, even if that involves not doing jack except arguing whether Phineas or Ferb is the true genius. Gustafsdottir got the urge back after two years. Many don't.
Maybe Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin knew what she was doing when she stayed with her longtime coach and remained a Colorado high school student as she prepped for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Franklin went back to Aurora Regis Jesuit High School after the Olympics. She swam for the school team and led them to the state title in February. The affable, giddy Franklin said she'd do the same thing 100 times over.
"She's 17 and she wanted to stay 17," her father told the Denver Post.