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Two Pioneer swimmers earn academic honors


Junior Jenel Lopez broke three individual school records this season and joined teammate Rachel Knowles as a CSCAA Scholar All-American honoree.

  • July 25, 2012

Cal State East Bay swimmers Jenel Lopez and Rachel Knowles were named to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division II Scholar All-America Honorable Mention Team last week. In addition, the team was honored for the second time this year with Spring Scholar All-America Team honors after posting a 3.21 team grade point average in the spring.

During the 2011-12 campaign, Knowles and Lopez were key in helping guide the Pioneers to their best finish in program history at the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference (PCSC) Championships. Over the course of the four-day championship meet, the team broke 14 school records and posted 11 NCAA “B” cuts en route to its fifth-place showing.

A Los Angeles native, Lopez consistently ranked among the top 30 in Division II in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle this season, breaking school records in all three events while anchoring four record-breaking relay teams at PCSC Championships. Lopez also posted the team’s best individual finish at championships, taking third in the 200 free. The junior’s impressive season also earned her 2011-12 Pioneer Female Athlete of the Year honors in June.

The 2011-12 season was also a breakout campaign for Knowles, who finished the PCSC Championships with both the 100 and 200 breaststroke school records. In addition, she claimed fifth place and posted an NCAA “B” cut in the 200 breaststroke. Knowles was also a part of three of the record-breaking relay teams, swimming the breaststroke in the 400 medley relay where the Pioneers took fourth.

The academic honors are a first for both Knowles and Lopez, who were the only women from the PCSC to be honored by the CSCAA. The team honors are the second this season for the Pioneers, who garnered Fall Scholar All-America Team recognition in February after posting a 3.27 GPA during fall quarter. East Bay was one of 47 Division II teams honored for their spring academic achievement.

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