Commodores Honored in the Classroom

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Commodores Honored in the Classroom
Photo by Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt swimming quartet of Megan Ciezczak, Abby Francis, Ellie Taliaferro and Kailia Utley were named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District® team, it was announced by the organization on Tuesday.

In order to be eligible for Academic All-District® honors, student-athletes need to compete in four competitions or finish top eight at a conference meet, carry at least a 3.50 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and have at least sophomore standing both academically and athletically.

As a junior, Ciezczak posted the second-best marks on the team in the 50 and 100 freestyle and was also ranked third in the 100 backstroke while meeting the CSCAA National Invitational Championships B Standard in all three events. The Naperville, Illinois, resident set career-low times in preliminary heats of all three events at the SEC Championships in February, and she advanced to A Finals in each at the Gamecock Invitational hosted by South Carolina in November. A medicine, health & society major, Ciezczak was named to the 2022-23 First-Year Academic Honor Roll following her first season with the program.

Francis joined the Commodores as a graduate transfer last fall and would proceed to rank among the top five on the squad in six different events in 2023-24 including ending up second in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. She concluded the campaign having met the CSCAA NIC B Standard in the 100 free, 50 and 100 breast, and 200 individual medley after posting her best marks of the season in the 50 and 100 free at the SEC Championships. A three-time member of the Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll in her time at Davidson, the Wethersfield, Connecticut, native is working toward a master’s degree in human development studies at Vandy.

Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Taliaferro capped her sophomore season by setting school records in the 100 and 200 free as well as the 200 IM at the SEC Championships while recording times that met the CSCAA NIC B Standard in each event. She finished 26th overall in the 200 free at the league meet, also placing among the top 40 in the 100 free and 200 IM, after posting third-place results in the A Final of the 200 free and 200 IM at the Gamecock Invitational. Taliaferro—who is a law, history & society major—was selected to the First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll as a freshman.

Utley became the first member of the program to compete at the NCAA Championships since 1989 this semester when she qualified in the 100 and 200 butterfly, having set school records in both events during the postseason. The junior advanced to the Consolation Final in each race at the SEC Championships, and she was just outside the top 30 in preliminary heats of the 200 back while recording Vandy’s best time in the event at that meet as well. The Huntington Beach, California, native has twice been named a second-team CSCAA Scholar All-American and was also voted Academic All-District® in 2022-23.

Select Academic All-District® honorees advance to the CSC Academic All-America® ballot. First-, second- and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced April 23.

Source: Vanderbilt
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