St. Dominic Academy has always been an institution that prides itself on sending its students on to the college ranks. Over the years, there have been several athletes who have been fortunate enough to move on to the next level via a scholarship.
It’s very rare when the school sends a swimmer on to college via the scholarship route.
It’s even more unique and outstanding when SDA produces two swimmers to secure scholarships.
That’s what happened recently when standout swimmers, teammates and friends Danielle Prekop and Kelly Bartnett both signed letters together.
Prekop signed her National Letter of Intent to attend Lehigh University while Bartnett signed her letter with Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
Prekop never thought there would be a chance that she could become a scholarship athlete.
“I wasn’t swimming for anything,” Prekop said. “I was only doing it for fun. It wasn’t even in my mind how big of a deal it could become. I certainly didn’t think I could get into the college of my dreams.”
Prekop, who was named USA Swimming Scholastic All-America last year, has an excellent grade point average of 3.55, which helped her immensely in getting into Lehigh.
“I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go,” Prekop said. “I was talking to a lot of schools. I wanted to stay in the Patriot League, so when I went to Lehigh, it felt right. Everyone there welcomed me. The team welcomed me.”
Prekop will study psychology at Lehigh.
“I love my family and I wanted to be close to them,” said Prekop, whose parents and brother were on hand for the signing. “I didn’t want to be too far from them.”
Bartnett also had no idea she could get a scholarship for swimming.
“I started swimming in fifth grade, but I never thought I’d be able to do this,” Bartnett said.
She was away from the pool competitively until last season.
“I just joined again in February,” Bartnett said. “It’s truly an honor to have this happen. It’s completely insane.”
Bartnett is undecided about a major at Sacred Heart.
“It just makes things easier for me this season,” Bartnett said. “I know where I’m going.”
It turns out that Prekop and Bartnett are the best of friends.
“Kelly is my best friend and I’m so happy she did so well swimming and I can share this with her,” Prekop said. “I’m so happy she got recruited. It’s just insane that it’s the two of us.”
“It’s the best thing in the world to share this with Danielle,” Bartnett said.
Needless to say, it was a great day for SDA.
“I’m really excited and really blessed,” Prekop said. “I’m happy to represent my school.”
Prekop, who competed in cross country in the fall, will try to continue running outdoor track in the spring.
“I’m going to try to juggle both swimming and track,” Prekop said. “I’m going to try to keep it going.” – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com