By Richard Pryor III
One of my favorite things about this column over the last two years I’ve been writing it is getting to highlight people that aren’t in the traditional sports. You might never guess that this person who’s in your class is a swimmer or diver or tennis player. And if you’ve ever been in an economics or business class with Noel Whitlock (C’20), you might not know that this diver from Melbourne, Florida, is recognized as one of the best divers in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
After five invitationals or matches so far this season, Whitlock has been named SAA Diver of the Week twice, with her second coming after the Igloo Invitational, where she set school, pool, and meet records for both the one meter and three meter dives, with scores of 487.41 and 487.42 points, respectively. Whitlock also set the meet and school records in both events last year. Even more impressively, Whitlock has won the one meter and/or three meter events at every dual or invitational so far this season.
Whitlock has already qualified for the NCAA Regionals alongside Paisley Simmons (C’21), who qualified for the same event alongside Whitlock last season, marking the first trip to the NCAA postseason for a swimmer or diver since Astrid Escobar (C’14) capped her collegiate career with an 18th place finish in the 200 meter breaststroke.
Whitlock is clearly well-respected by her teammates – swimmer Victoria Kunesch (C’21) commented to The Purple that Whitlock is “super supportive of everyone on the team, and at any meet you can find her on the side of the pool cheering everyone on!” Kunesch also described Whitlock as a “hard worker and a huge asset to [the] team.” With Whitlock on the board, the Tigers are always guaranteed some points for diving – and a teammate who helps your team win is one of the best kind of teammates.