Chelsea Wiese of Rochester, Mich. is an exemplary example of the Division III student/athlete. Chelsea, a 2012 Phi Beta Kappa graduate, received the NCAA Elite 89 award for NCAA Division III Women's Swimming and Diving. The award recognizes academic excellence with athletic accomplishment. It is presented to the athlete with the highest GPA who competes at the national championship for a particular sport. An accounting major, Chelsea maintained a 4.0 cumulative GPA. She was the conference (MIAA) champion in the 200 and 400 yard individual medley and competed in three relays at nationals.
"Chelsea's work ethic, both academically and athletically is astounding," says her coach John Patnott. "She is very intelligent, but also works very hard for her accomplishments. When she writes a paper she has it completed early and will proof her work three or four times before turning it in. She has the same attitude with her swimming; she does not accept less than her best effort in practice and competition. In addition to her individual accomplishments Chelsea is very much a team player, always concerned about the best interest of her teammates."
The coaches, administration, and professors strongly uphold the Division III philosophy of being a student-athlete, instilling in us that we are students first and foremost, yet still providing the support necessary to achieve our athletic endeavors. The skills developed through participating in athletics at Hope complement the classroom education.
"The environment at Hope is one that both encourages and enables student-athletes to thrive," says Chelsea. "The coaches, administration, and professors strongly uphold the Division III philosophy of being a student-athlete, instilling in us that we are students first and foremost, yet still providing the support necessary to achieve our athletic endeavors. The skills developed through participating in athletics at Hope complement the classroom education. Swimming is a demanding sport that requires dedication, perseverance, and hard work. I have found that these same traits are necessary to succeed in the classroom and will be applicable to any career. I have been really fortunate to swim at Hope with such talented individuals who strive for excellence in both the pool and classroom and who challenge me every day to be and do better."
The entire Hope swimming and diving program team reflects Chelsea's dedication toward academic achievement. The cumulative GPA of the women's team in 2011-12 was the highest among all NCAA Divisions, men and women. The men’s swimming and diving program was also recognized nationally for academic excellence.
"These team academic accomplishments are remarkable considering that the team’s practice 3½ hours per day Monday through Friday and usually have competitions on Saturdays." says Patnott. "However a swimmer or diver may miss a workout for academic reasons without question. They indeed have their priorities in the right order."