The Path To Division I Swimming
Nov. 12, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. - Junior Mary-Tess Taylor was just one of two junior college transfers to sign a national letter of intent this season, bringing both her extensive experience and leadership to the returning Fresno State swimming and diving team.
A native of Granite Bay, Calif., Taylor got her start in swimming at the early age of five years and hasn't stopped since. Her sole inspiration and push to swimming began when her parents encouraged her to join a summer recreational swimming league, the Roseville Sugar Bears, which went undefeated for 16 years.
"I started swimming when I was five and I've always loved the breaststroke," said Taylor. "I remember when I was young and I would get disqualified I would cry to my mom."
Taylor has come a long way since her days of childhood tears. Aside from her 15 years with the Sugar Bears, Taylor earned varsity letters in swimming as well as MVP honors for three consecutive years at Oakmont High School. She also led the swim team as captain for two seasons, as well as being named an All-American.
"I never swam year-round because my parents thought I might get burned out," said Taylor.
The proven strong swimmer also put her strengths into water polo, earning varsity letters both in high school and in college. In 2004, Taylor earned defensive player of the year in water polo as well as MVP in 2006.
But Taylor's experience intensified when she entered Sierra College, where she pushed herself to personal bests and expanded her realm of experience in swimming on the college level.
During her time at Sierra College, Taylor earned second place finishes at state, a third consecutive year win swimming the 50 breast, 50 fly, 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle relay. She also earned a two-year letter winner in swimming and water polo, as well as team captain, most improved, and the coach's award while maintaining her place on the dean's list and honor roll.
"My greatest achievement in college was placing third at the state meet in the 100 breast and earning my personal best of 1:08," said Taylor.
"I had been given offers from a couple of colleges," said Taylor. "I went to state meet and only a couple of days after I had to make a choice where to go. I had never been to Fresno before, so my mom and I came down and checked out the campus."
After her two years of junior college, Taylor chose to transfer to Fresno State because of the amazing school spirit and availability of her major, art, and a minor in French. She sets her sights high both for herself and for her fellow team.
"My goals personally for this season are to earn a 1:04 in the 100 breaststroke, and I think with the proper training I can accomplish that," said Taylor. "All the improvement is going to be amazing."
Now, Taylor continues her own swimming tradition at Fresno State, where she endures intense daily training with the `Dogs at her new home and looks forward to traveling with the team and checking out the competition. Her strongest events are expected to be the 100 breaststroke, and just four meets into the season, she has already proven this strength.
Taylor has captured event victories and showed leadership in many of this season's meets, winning the 200 breaststroke event against powerhouse San Jose State and 200 IM event against San Diego State.
"I feel very privileged to be on this team," said Taylor. "Fresno is ready for a good aquatics program. There are a lot of fast swimmers here."
"Join the State - Fresno State" - The Fresno State swimming and diving team catches a wave to more action Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 on the campus of Boise State at 11 a.m.