Friday night at the Whitworth Aquatic Center, freshman swimmer Nicole Lecoq finished in the top two in all her events. Her 400 yard medley relay team finished first, 14 seconds ahead of the runners-up. She finished second in the 500 yard freestyle and won the women’s 200 yard freestyle by four seconds. This was Lecoq’s first dual meet and only her fifth competition as a Pirate, but she is already making a name for herself in the pool.
“She loves to compete, loves to race,” head swimming coach Steve Schadt said. “As a coach I love that. She is a warm, friendly, supportive person who lifts up her teammates. We knew she was a good fit to our program from day one.”
Lecoq has been swimming since she was 4 years old, influenced by a couple of close family members.
“I have two older sisters that started swimming and I am just naturally competitive and wanted to do what they do,” Lecoq said. “But I stuck with it because it’s something I am passionate about.”
Lecoq’s swimming career led her to Whitworth where she is swimming in the 100 freestyle, the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke as well as swimming on multiple relay teams.
“Well my sister graduated from [Whitworth], so that’s how I first heard about it, but I came to Whitworth for the academics and because of swimming,” Lecoq said.
One of her older sisters, Ashley Lecoq, was a Pirate All-American swimmer from 2007 to 2011. She graduated last year, leaving behind three relay records in the 400 medley relay, the 200 free relay and the 800 free relay.
“I look up to her in so many ways,” Nicole Lecoq said. “She is an amazing swimmer and a person I look up to and sharing a sport just makes it that much better.”
For Nicole Lecoq growing up competing with her sister may have given her an advantage in clutch situations.
“Her biggest strength is when you’re in the third quarter of a race - gut-check time - she has that extra gear, that will to win,” Schadt said. “Her talent and feel for the water is one of her biggest assets.”
It is also one of her favorite parts of swimming.
“The competitiveness and the people [is what I like most about swimming],” Nicole Lecoq said. “I probably wouldn’t do it unless I had friends in it with me. I also like how there is an individual and team aspect to it.”
Lecoq will compete with the Whitworth swim teams as they travel to McMinnville, Ore., to compete in the Northwest Invitational next Friday and Saturday.
Story by Nathan Webber
Photo by Jeff Ferguson