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The GW Hatchet

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Best female athlete: Julia Knox

Sage Russell | Staff Photographer
Julia Knox has zeroed in on lightning-fast times in the 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard IM over the course of her two seasons while collecting a total of eight conference medals to her name.

Readers’ pick: Julia Knox

Sophomore Julia Knox has become a star for the swimming and diving program this past season, setting Atlantic 10 records while on her way to becoming the first female swimmer to qualify for NCAA national championship since 1995.

Knox led the women’s swimming program to victory in the A-10 Championships, setting four program records and winning four medals with gold in the 200-yard individual medley, gold in the 800-yard freestyle relay, silver in the 400-yard IM and bronze in the 200-yard breaststroke. Knox brought the swimming and diving program back to the national stage late last month, entering as the 53rd-seeded athlete in a pool of 281 and competing in three events.

She finished in the middle of a stacked pack of swimmers in the 200- and 400-yard individual medley races.

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“Being in such a competitive environment like I haven’t been in an environment where there’s the top 40 people in the country in every event,” Knox said in a press conference the week of the championship. “So I think I’m really excited to just see a lot of fast swimming, and I’m excited to be one of those people swimming besides them as well.”

The sophomore has become an integral part of the women’s program in the past two seasons, skyrocketing to the status of an all-time GW swimming and diving legend. She has zeroed in on lightning-fast times in the 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard IM over the course of her two seasons while collecting a total of eight conference medals to her name.

She qualified for the NCAA championship at the Bulldog Invite Last Chance meet in Georgia in late February and competed in March, where she set a new program record of 4:10.57 in the 400-yard IM.

On the first day of the national championship, Knox climbed seven spots from her original seeding, finishing in 46th place out of 62 in the 200-yard individual medley with a 1:58.32 time. She competed in the 200-yard breaststroke where she placed in 52nd place out 55 swimmers with a 2:14.37. Knox finished the second day of the national championship in 24th place out of a total of 43 swimmers in the 400-yard individual medley after matching her second-best time of the year with 4:11.44.

Knox’s accolades throughout her two-year career include being named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team and racking up four medals three silver and one bronze as a freshman at the A-10 Championships in 2021. Knox also represented GW at the Speedo Junior Winter Championships – a national competition in the United States for the top 18 club swimmers under 23 – in December 2021, where she recorded a top 10 time in program history with a 2:17.82 finish in the 200-yard breaststroke.

“Julia’s a trendsetter too now,” Head Coach Brian Thomas said in a press conference in February. “As a coach, that’s invaluable as we keep taking steps forward.”

The swimming program looks to continue building on its success from the past three seasons where the women’s team has become one of the league’s leading teams after winning two consecutive A-10 titles. Knox played an integral role in the championships, becoming one of two swimmers to earn three medals.

Knox now enters the offseason as the core of the program with seven swimmers graduating this spring. Following her leadership, the team will continue working on their performance on the national stage while ensuring the Colonials continue dominating the A-10.

“Julia’s performance this year was extremely special,” Thomas said in a GW Athletics release earlier this month. “You’d have to say she’s the best in 28 years at GW for women’s swimming.”

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