Leesburg, VA (Mar. 17, 2016) – Tuscarora senior swim champion Simon Shi will take to the pool for Virginia Tech beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“I had a great recruiting experience, shared Shi. I got to travel a lot, visiting colleges mainly along the each coast, and met a lot of great swimmers and coaches. I kept an open mind to the experience and what it would be like at each of the schools. I felt relaxed when it came time to make my decision and am so glad I no longer had to worry about getting into college and could focus on my swimming.”
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech is a public, research university with a main campus in Blacksburg, VA. The commonwealth’s third-largest university offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The school is also a research powerhouse, with seven research institutes and two university research centers – including the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute – which offer research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students alike.
“I looked for a school that has a swim team with exciting teammates as well as a good engineering program, said Shi. After taking four official visits, I felt like Tech was the best fit for me. I also know and swam with a lot of members on Tech’s swim team when they were in high school.”
Shi’s head swim coach will be Ned Skinner. Coach Skinner, the 2012 and 2014 ACC Men’s Coach of the Year, has been the head coach of the Virginia Tech men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs since 1998. In 2014-15, Skinner helped lead the Hokies to being the only ACC school to finish in the top three team finishes in both men’s and women’s at the ACC Championships. The teams also combined to send 26 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships where the men finished 31st and the women finished 27th. The 2013-14 season was a big one for the Hokies and Skinner as well, claiming the program’s first ACC title and first overall swimming and diving championship since 2000 when the school resided in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“My goals going into my first year are to score some points at the ACC Championships and have an impact on the relays,” said Shi.
Shi, the 2016 VHSL Group 5A State Champion in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, set some lofty goals for his senior swim campaign. “At the beginning of the season, I told my coach that in addition to winning a state title, I want to get three relays to States. So I swam three relays at Conference and Regionals, sacrificing one individual event. I helped all three get to States where three more boys had a chance to compete. I swam two individuals and two relays at States. If I competed in all three relays, I could only do one individual event.”
When asked about his thoughts throughout each championship swim, Shi shared, “Before each race, I visualized the perfect swim over and over again. I was very nervous, thinking about not messing up on my stroke or turn. When the race started those butterflies were history, I calmed down to keep things positive, and kept visualizing my perfect race. During the race, I swam exactly what I visualized right to the very end. It felt great to raise my hand in victory, knowing that all my hard work paid off. It was a very big moment for me.”
“I am thankful for my parents and sister who really supported me throughout my swim career, said Shi. I am also thankful for my coaches and all of my teammates who pushed me beyond my limits.
Asked what advice he’d give others pursuing their dream, Simon shared, “Do the things others are not willing to do. Do something extra each day that will put yourself ahead of your competitors. All the little things you do each day will add up and at the end it will pay off.”
Please join us in wishing Simon Shi the very best on the swim team at Virginia Tech and in the classroom as he pursues a degree in Computer Science and Math.