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Swimming With Bowling!

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 01/23/2013
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Senior Lauren Bowling owns three A&T swimming records. She will swim her final meet at Corbett Sports Center on Friday, Jan. 25.
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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Bowling Swimming School Records

Event                    Date                      Time
50 Butterfly        Feb. 7, 2010        27.71
100 Butterfly      Feb. 16, 2012      1:00.28
200 Butterfly      Nov. 17, 2012     2:15.64

GREENSBORO-Senior butterfly specialist Lauren Bowling dolphin-kicked her way into the North Carolina A&T swimming record books in four years. She will be stepping onto the blocks in the pool at Corbett Sports Center for her last home meet on Friday against Campbell at 5 p.m.

"It's all kind of bittersweet," said Bowling.  "I am kind of excited to move into the next chapter in my life, and to move on and forward from swimming, but at the same time I'm going to miss it.  I'm finally coming to the realization that it is my last home meet that I'll ever swim in the pool.  I'm excited and happy, but I'm sad and I'm going to miss it."

North Carolina A&T plans to salute one of the best butterfly specialists in program history, a student-athlete who has been a leader in and out of the water as a part of Senior Night.

"She's given so much to this program and she cares so much," said A&T head coach Shawn Hendrix.  "It's been an awesome opportunity and a privilege to coach her."

Bowling's example in the pool this year and in her career has been an important part of the team's success.

"The girls have a lot of respect for her because she works hard consistently.   She's always positive, and she motives and inspires others.  I'll miss a lot of things about her," Hendrix said. "I can count on her, even when I make a [practice] set hard, nearly impossible, that she's still going to try because she knows the faster and harder she swims, the faster and harder everybody else is going to swim."

And Bowling has done a tremendous job of swimming faster and harder as evidenced by her multiple school records, including breaking her own 200 butterfly record in 2:15.64 last fall on Nov. 17 in the Highlander Invitational.  

"It's an honor to hold a record.  I hope that it stays like that for a while, but I also hope that someone else can come and take over too.  It's exciting," Bowling said.

In fact, it is that first 200-butterfly record, which she set on Nov. 19, 2009 at the Highlander Invitational, that Bowling says, is her favorite meet memory.  After swimming a 2:24.27 in the preliminary heat for 14th place, Bowling advanced to the finals race.  After hearing Coach Hendrix tell her to relax, swim and have fun in the race before entering her lane and with the enthusiastic support from her teammates during the race, Bowling took ninth place with a 2:15.86 finish to claim her first school record.

"I think about that moment in competition all the time," Bowling said, reflecting on the motivation and inspiration she culled from her teammates.

Bowling has also set personal records in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke as well this season, and looks to continue to shave off seconds in the final three regular season meets.  She has won first place in individual events eight times, and has placed first in relay events four times in her career.

But even with the records and accolades she has earned, including two team MVP awards, Bowling will be remembered more for her other qualities as a leader.

"I think she's been a very important factor because she's been here the longest and she has a lot of wisdom to give everybody else," said junior Aarin Miles.  "She's a really good swimmer, she's a really good friend to have, she's easy to talk to and she's one of those people that if you need something, she's there for you."

Bowling, a psychology major and member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, will look to get her master's degree in school counseling after graduating in May.  She plans to return home to Augusta, Ga., and attend graduate school there.  She also plans to pursue a PhD in counseling. 

But first, she'll look to defeat the Camels in her final home meet on Friday.

"I've enjoyed so much being around my team and the team atmosphere and just all the little things we've done together," she said.  "I'm just really excited and looking forward to it." 

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