The Rowan’s Women’s Swimming season is underway, and one swimmer who will be leading the way is Ella Pennington.
Ahead of a season in which Pennington is expected to be a leader in and out of the pool, Pennington reflected back on her start, which was different than most.
“My younger sister had a lot of health complications when we were younger, and one of the things the doctor suggested, because she was so limited in what she could do, was swimming,” Pennington said.
Pennington joined her sister in the pool, and over time, the sport transitioned from a summer activity to a year-round staple. Along the way, her love for swimming grew, and she never looked back.
“The people I’ve had the opportunity to swim with, the coaches I’ve had the opportunity to swim under, all of them have been fabulous,” Pennington said.
Given that her first taste of the sport was accidental, her first experience being in the pool competitively came later than others.
“By traditional standards, I started pretty late,” Pennington said. “Most people start full-year swimming around seven or eight years old. I started when I was twelve.”
Now, the reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year holds two school records; the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:05.97, and the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:02.00, with the latter being a record that she broke in the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships last March.
“I think that was my all-time favorite race because I was in so much pain, but I also felt so supported by the people around me and how excited everyone was for me,” Pennington said.
As the 2023-24 season gets underway, Pennington has her eyes set on improving her technique.
“A goal of mine that I have been working on with Coach [Brad] Green is my backstroke turns,” Pennington said.
Assistant coach Brad Green touched on her mindset and how it leads to her success.
“I think she expects a lot out of herself, and she’s very driven and goes about her work very quietly,” Green said. “But she really does expect to be the best, and that’s what makes her special.”
On a team level, Pennington has high hopes for the team in general when it comes to the NCAA Championships this season.
“I am so hyped to get a relay to NCAAs, I think that is something that is well within the capabilities of our girls,” Pennington said. “I’ve seen how much they care, and not only do they deserve it, they earned it and can 100% do it.”
With the third meet of the season on the horizon, Pennington is excited to see how the future unfolds.
“I am honored to be a part of this era of Rowan swimming.”