KNOXVILLE, TN (WATE) – This season was one for the books for the Lady Vols swimming and diving team, after finishing the season undefeated for the first time since the 1972-73 season, and won their first SEC championship in school history.
Part of that phenomenal class was standout swimmer Erika Brown.
After the Lady Vols brought home the SEC title, in a post-win press conference Director of Swimming and Diving Matt Kredich touched on the senior’s competitiveness that makes her an elite athlete.
“She’s a relentless competitor. Her desire to compete is really rooted in the desire to get better, the pursuit of getting better.”
Her accolades are nothing short of impressive.
Brown breaking records
At the SEC championship, Brown won her third-consecutive SEC title in the 100 free (45.83), making her the second woman to ever to swim under 46 seconds, joining the company of Olympian Simone Manual. With that time, she lowered her own SEC and school record.
In the 100 fly, the versatile swimmer claimed the American Record (49.83), becoming the third-fastest performer in event history.
Brown also won her third event in the 50 free (21.03) breaking yet another SEC record, and going 3-for-3 on the week, accomplishing this feat for the third straight season.
Brown was awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy, given to swimmer who scores the most points at the SECs, and won the SEC Swimmer of the Meet for the second straight year.
She also ended her SEC career adding to her medal collection: 22 total medals, 18 of those gold.
Her last SEC championship, one of the defining moments of her career.
“It was amazing. we really set out at the beginning of the year exactly what we wanted to do and that was win a championship. We made a plan of how we were going to do it. And we really committed to that and stuck with it throughout the whole season.”
Olympic aspirations put on hold
Swimming arguably at her best Brown, along with her teammates, were gearing up for the NCAA championship when the Vols received the season-ending news with the NCAA canceling the remaining winter and spring championships, scrapping the spring sports seasons all together as the virus spread.
With Brown’s last swim season of her collegiate career, along with her academic, cut short the US national team member turned her focus to training for the 2020 Olympic Trials.
But by March 24th–those plans would also put on hold after the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee decided to postpone the games until next summer.
The natural competitor that she is, Brown is now finding new ways to train on land while pools remain closed.
Regardless of the abrupt ending, and for what’s next, she’s leaving behind a great legacy at the University of Tennessee.
“I’m so proud to be a Lady Vol and be a part of that legacy.”