Shippensburg University senior Gracee Tothero (State College, Pa./State College Area) was named to the 2020 Academic All-America® Women’s At-Large Third Team Thursday afternoon. She was selected for the prestigious scholastic award by the College Sports Information Directors Association of America (CoSIDA).
Gracee Tothero is a biology major concentrating in pre-med and a member of the Wood Honors College. She graduated summa cum laude in May with a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA. She will begin PhD studies in microbiology this fall at the University of Delaware.
It is Tothero’s first Academic All-America ® award. It is also the first achieved by an SU women’s swimmer since Rikki Sargent was named to the 2016 At-Large Third Team.
Tothero is the first Raider of five SU All-District 2019-20 honorees to later be selected to the Academic All-America team. Track & Field, the final Academic All-America team of 2019-20, is announced next week.
“I didn’t come into college expecting to graduate with a 4.0 or be the standout in that way,” Tothero said. “I think the most important thing that contributed to my success in school was just focusing on the effort I was putting in instead of the results I was getting out.”
The only thing that was expected of her (in school and in the pool) was to try her best, she said.
“And if I gave 100 percent and didn’t get the grade or time I wanted, I should still be proud of that,” she said.
Balancing academics and athletics
A two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Champion Scholar, Tothero scored in four events at the 2020 PSAC Women’s Swimming Championships spanning ‘B’ and ‘C’ finals. She placed 12th in the 200-yard breaststroke; 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke; 15th in the 200-yard IM and 22nd in the 400-yard IM and swam on three scoring relays for the Raiders.
“Balancing academics and athletics is a challenge, but I actually think that I could never have been this successful without being an athlete,” Tothero said. “I really wouldn’t have the time management skills that I have without working around practices and meets and team travel since I was very young.”
Tothero finished her collegiate career as a 15-time PSAC individual place-winner. She rankS among the Top 10 swimmers in school history for four events. Tothero ranks fifth at SU in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:23.17 in 2018); sixth in the 400-yard IM (4:38.06 in 2018); eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.95 in 2019) an tenth in the 200-yard IM (2:10.47 in 2019).
“I couldn’t have asked for more out of the past four years,” Tothero said. “I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am for all the people that were committed to my success in athletics, the biology department and the honors college.”
Tothero’s head coach, Tim Verge, was excited that Tothero was able to achieve the Academic All-America classification.
“What a tremendous honor for Gracee,” Verge said. “She has worked extremely hard through her career and I can think of no greater capstone.”
One of 50
Most of the Academic All-America ® teams focus on specific sports such as football, basketball or volleyball. The At-Large category for which Tothero was voted features a collection of several sports. That makes the selection especially prestigious.
The women’s At-Large category includes the sports of beach volleyball, bowling, crew, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, rowing, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis and water polo.
Tothero was one of just 14 Division II women’s swimmers recognized among the 50 total individuals on the 2020 Academic All-America ® Women’s At-Large Team.
Verge calls it “a remarkable achievement” to make it to the final Academic All-America list.
“When you think of all the athletes competing for this, it is just so impressive,” he said. “She will go on to do fantastic things. We are definitely going to miss her being a part of the SHIP community.”
For more information about CoSIDA’s Academic All-America® Teams program, visit AcademicAllAmerica.com.