SKYLAND – Lots of pools close around Labor Day.
Not in Mary-O Soule’s world.
The Roberson senior competes year-round for the Asheville Swim Club which means lots of grueling morning and afternoon workouts.
All those hours in chlorinated water have paid off — Soule has committed to the University of North Carolina.
“I’m super-excited about it and so happy that (recruiting) is over,” Soule said Tuesday.
“It just feels great to have finally made my decision. The girls on the team are incredible and the coaching staff is great. Not only do they have top-notch athletics, but the academic offerings are amazing.”
Soule is a former NCHSAA 4-A champion in the 100-yard butterfly who said she chose the Tar Heels over two other finalists, Florida and N.C. State.
Soule chose to focus exclusively on club swimming midway through last winter’s high school season. At the time, Soule had the area’s best performances in four individual events — the 100-yard butterfly (58.03 seconds), 200-yard freestyle (1:55.00), 200-yard individual medley (2:10.76) and 500-yard freestyle (5:13.71).
Cutting down to one team seems to have agreed with Soule.
She placed ninth in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley at August’s Speedo Junior National Long Course Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. Her performance in the latter was an Olympic qualifying time of 4:53.54. In addition, Soule won three events (the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley at February’s N.C Swimming Senior Championships.
As of Wednesday, there were 47 athletes from Western North Carolina who had committed to play college sports. The first signing date for this school year is Nov. 9.