Aspen High swimmer Emily Driscoll headed to Cali’s Occidental College

Emily Driscoll, a 2018 Aspen High School graduate, will swim next winter at Occidental College in California.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen Swim Club will host its lone home meet of the summer long-course season Saturday and Sunday as the Aspen Recreation Center pool. The early session begins at 9 a.m. both days, with the afternoon session set to begin around 1 p.m.

Speedos coach Gordon Gerson expects around 200 swimmers from the Western Slope to take part, with about a fourth of them coming from the Aspen club.

“Good way to break up training a little bit and get some race practice in. We of course like to win our home meet, but the more important meets are later on in July,” Gerson said. “It’s such a short season. We sort of just began it and Western Slope championships are mid-July, state championships are a week or two later and we go to California in early August and that’s it.”

Emily Driscoll wasn’t much of a swimmer when she was younger. But, by training with the Aspen Swim Club and competing with the Aspen High School girls swim team, she developed into someone who had multiple options for swimming collegiately.

“Went from being barely able to swim to being on the podium at high school state championships,” Aspen Swim Club coach Gordon Gerson said. “Her character contributed to her swimming, but her swimming also contributed to developing her character and helped get her into the school of her choice. She had some really good choices and chose the one that was the best fit for her.”

Driscoll, who recently graduated from AHS, will attend Occidental College in northern Los Angeles. Oxy, as it goes by, is considered one of the best liberal arts schools in the country. She’ll compete for the Tigers’ NCAA Division III women’s swim team, coached by Steve Webb.

“I first visited the school on a California college tour the spring break of my junior year. I met the coach there and he was really, really nice and a huge component of why I decided to commit to Occidental,” Driscoll said. “I was positive I was going to swim in college and although academics came first, I was looking for the school that was right for both my academics and my swimming.”

Driscoll said Occidental was one of three finalists for her, with Colorado College and Carleton College in Minnesota coming in close behind. Ultimately, it came down to that welcoming feeling by the Occidental coaches, and maybe some of that SoCal sunshine.

“I can’t wait,” Driscoll said. “I’m definitely a mountain girl at heart and I know I am going to miss the mountains, but I’m going to come back and visit as much as possible. I’m excited to test out the city and the city life.”

Along with being a standout for the Speedos, Driscoll was a key part of the AHS girls swim team, which won the Class 3A state championship her junior year. The Skiers were eighth this past season, with Driscoll being part of multiple podium finishes. She was third in the 100-yard backstroke at state, and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly. She was also part of two strong relay teams, including the 200-yard freestyle relay that took second.

Historically strong in the butterfly, Driscoll’s strongest event has become the backstroke. Her strength comes in large part because of her ability to remain underwater for long periods of time.

“She has a tremendous ability to do a dolphin kick underwater over and over to the 15-meter mark, which is as far as you’re allowed to go,” Gerson said. “That is her success. It takes a lot of discipline to be able to do that.”

Driscoll is a standout student as well. She was awarded the Principal’s Award by Tharyn Mulberry during the AHS graduation ceremony and plans to pursue a pre-med track at Occidental, with a focus on cognitive science and public health policy. She has a dream of reforming health care in the United States.

“I’m really interested in getting a medical degree,” Driscoll said, “but also being in the policy side of it because I worked on the board of student liaison and I really enjoyed the decision making and the policy making.”


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