KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- For the first time in the program’s four year history an Azusa Pacific swimmer has been named the NAIA’s National Swimmer of the Month. Tink Gibb became the first Cougar to earn the distinction after helping the Cougars to wins over Biola and at the Soka Invite.
“It’s really surprising because I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Gibb after hearing about the honor. “I put 100 percent into swimming, and swimming at Azusa Pacific means a lot to me.”
During the month of January Gibb won every event she swam in, and hasn’t finished outside of the winner’s circle since the UNLV Winter Invite on December 19.
At the Biola Dual Gibb placed first in both of her individual swims, pacing the field in the 100 fly (1:00.28) and the 500 free (5:22.07). Gibb also swam a leg of the 200 medley relay (1:54.06) that took first as well. Against the field of Chapman, Soka, and Vanguard the junior from Glendora won the 100 fly (1:01.09), the 100 free (55.01), and was a member of two first place relays; the 200 medley (1:56.14) and 200 (1:44.20). In the PCSC Time Trials Gibb bested Pepperdine and Concordia, reaching the wall in first in the in the 100 fly (1:00.71).
“I think with her it’s well deserved. She’s put in a lot of time, and any of these accolades are well deserved. She has a special desire for the program to do well. She’s committed herself to see that Azusa Pacific is on the map,” said head coach Tim Kyle. “I think it’s outstanding. It’s been four years in the making, and to establish ourselves and have these swimmers represent the program well [is great]. It just goes to show how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.”
Gibb, who shied away from taking credit, attributed much of the team’s success to Kyle’s coaching, despite the added workload he’s demanded.
“It stinks waking up at 5:20 every morning, but that’s what you have to do to be successful,” said Gibb. “He knows exactly how to train us and has such a positive attitude. He wants us to do our best individually, and as a team.”
The team, which is ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, has just two meets remaining this season as the Cougars compete in the PCSC Championship next week and then travel to Oklahoma City for the NAIA National Championships on February 29-March 3. With 14 swimmers and one diver already qualified, the Cougars are hoping to improve off its fifth place finish at the nationals last year.