These add to the long list of accolades Vanderpool-Wallace has earned during her four years at Auburn.
Her performance at the Jan. 11 meet against the University of Texas won Vanderpool-Wallace player of the week status; she won all four of her events in the 167–133 win over the Longhorns.
Vanderpool-Wallace is an 18-time All-American who was named the SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Year in 2011 and earned the SEC Commissioner’s Cup as the high scorer at the SEC Championships in Gainesville, Fla.
During the 2010–11 season, Vanderpool-Wallace helped Auburn land its first NCAA championship in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle.
It is the third time this season she has been awarded SEC Swimmer of the Week honors.
“It’s really nice to be recognized by people in the SEC and other people in the nation,” Vanderpool-Wallace said. “It helps you know that your hard work is paying off.”
Vanderpool-Wallace said she attributes her most recent string of success to the support given to her by her teammates.
“The team has become more of a family lately,” she said. “So, just kind of coming together makes me want to swim faster.”
She said she trains hard throughout the week, hitting the weight room Monday, Wednesday and Friday and swimming for two or three hours daily.
In the days leading up to a meet she tries to alleviate stress by focusing her mind on other things.
“Right before, I try to not really think about the race because it can kind of overwhelm you a little bit,” Vanderpool-Wallace said. “The day of, I’m going to think of anything other than the race.”
Vanderpool-Wallace said she doesn’t follow any specific rituals or superstitions before a race, but she will always listen to music.
“I usually listen to rap music,” she said. “Lil Wayne mostly.”
The senior hasn’t let her training and workouts interfere with her studies; she will be graduating in December with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
“My life is swimming and school,” she said. “I swim and I go home and I do schoolwork.”
Vanderpool-Wallace participated in the 2008 Olympics for the Bahamas national women’s team and looks to do the same in London in 2012.
“I just qualified for 2012 in July,” she said. “I’m excited to go again and give it a shot again.”
As team captain, Vanderpool-Wallace leads best by example.
“She always comes in with the right focus every single day for practice,” said Haley Krakoski, sophomore sprint swimmer. “She’s definitely always the hardest worker we have on the team.”
Krakoski said she has learned a lot from Vanderpool-Wallace about improving her technique and trying to maintain the right mindset, adding that her teammate has always been there to help her fellow swimmers.
“She’s just someone that it helps us to look up to and always try to get to the same level as her,” Krakoski said. “We are all together collectively trying to be just as good as her.”
Krakoski said Vanderpool-Wallace has handled the pressures of success with ease.
“There is a lot expected of her this year, being the senior,” Krakoski said. “She was named our captain for this year. She has a lot on her plate, and she has a lot to live up to, but she does a great job at it.”
Brett Hawke, men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach, said having an athlete of such high caliber makes his job much easier.
“She’s consistent from the start of the season,” Hawke said. “She brings the right attitude and makes everyone around her better.
Hawke, a former Auburn sprint swimmer, is experienced working with superb athletes.
“I’ve raced at the Olympics myself, so I have a very good connection with kids with a lot of talent,” Hawke said. “So, I feel comfortable coaching her.
“It makes you feel good knowing you’ve got someone you can rely on. She’s one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever met. It’s good to walk into a meet knowing you’ve got a girl that can take down any other girl in the country.”
The Auburn men’s and women’s swimming and diving team lost to the No. 13 Florida Gators Jan. 21.
They are now preparing for the SEC Championships, which will be held Feb. 15–18.