Hello from beautiful Lynchburg, VA, and Liberty University! My name is Jake Shellenberger and I am the Head Swimming and Diving Coach here at LU. Thank you for taking the time to visit our site - I trust you will love what you find below and throughout these pages. We have much to offer here at LU, and please also check out www.liberty.edu for more info.
To start, you would be a perfect fit for Liberty if:
- You want to swim/dive at the Elite Division I level
- You want to do so in an authentic non-party culture
- Medium sized, fully accredited Doctoral Research University of 17,000 students, located on a 7,000 acre mountaintop campus in southern Virginia.
- 2.1 Billion dollar endowment
- We feature more than 300 undergraduate majors, 20 NCAA D1 athletic programs, and we are currently the world's largest Christian affiliated school (non-denominational).
- We also offer the best sunsets on the east coast!
- I should note that while we are a faith-based school, our educational opportunities are quite diverse, indeed. Consider for example that one can study in our School of Religion, as one might expect from a Christian affiliated school, however we also offer degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Molecular Biology, Pre-Med, Pre-Law, American Sign Language, Computer Engineering, Neuroscience, Nursing, and Business, just to name a few. You can see a complete list of our academic offerings here.
As for recruiting, here at LU we are looking for Excellence, and Excellence in all areas of the life of a potential recruit. These include the academic, athletic, healthy social, spiritual, emotional, and relational areas to name a few. We are looking for diligent young women who value the aforementioned components of life, strive to hold them in the highest regard, and work tirelessly until they are fine tuned and molded in the way of success.
We hesitate to list times in our recruiting standards. Throughout our history we have had tremendous time improvements from our student-athletes, and would have missed out on quite a few amazing young women had we turned them away with strict time standards. Just two examples of many -
Meghan Babcock entered our program a 24.5 and 53.6 freestyler...normally a D1 program that wants to be good on the national level would not recruit a potential student-athlete with those times...but we saw more in Meghan, and at 6'2'' and a great land athlete we knew she had the ability to Excel with the proper sprint training. She committed to LU and the rest, as they say, is history. Meghan had nothing short of an incredible career here at Liberty, becoming one of the top sprinters in our program's history and graduating with flat start times of 22.8 and 50.5 and splitting 22.1 and 49.5 on relays, anchoring our NCAA qualifying medley relay in 2014. From 24.5 and 53.6 to the NCAA D1 Women's Championship Meet...Meghan was not recruited by other D1 programs, and looking back, I bet they wish they had answered her emails!
Emily Duff entered our program with times of 5:08.2 in the 500 free and 2:07.6 in the 200 back. After four years of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to Excellence as I mentioned above, Emily graduated with times of 4:53.7 in the 500 and is our school record holder in the 200 back with a 1:56.50. Again as with Meghan, Emily was not heavily recruited out of high school and was overlooked by many D1 programs, even smaller D1 schools that certainly could have used an eventual 1:56.50 200 backstroker!
The case in point is simple - we do not require time standards here, just a commitment to Excellence in all areas of life as mentioned above. Having said the above, as an Elite Division I program we are certainly looking for the fastest possible recruits who fit well in our unique environment. Each potential recruit is evaluated individually based on training history, talent level, height, athleticism, and a multitude of other factors. If scholarship money is something that is needed, FAST times certainly help in that regard.
What we offer in return for your Excellence, commitment, and dedication here at Liberty -
- A world class education taught by experts in their respective fields. Our Professors care about you as a whole person, and here at Liberty you are not just a student number.
- A non-party atmosphere free from the social pressures seen at many universities across the US. We value healthy social relationships here at LU, and excessive alcohol consumption and Excellence in life rarely coexist. Consider Michael Phelps and his recent commitment to abstain from all alcohol consumption until after the Rio Olympics.
- Elite level swim coaching, mentoring, and life coaching. My assistant and I are in our coaching prime; as we model said Excellence in our own lives, daily. We are sharp, have high energy, and are always willing to go the extra five miles to see that you succeed.
- Opportunity. Have a Trials cut? We'll take you to the meet. US Nationals in the summer? Let's go! Want to see the US as part of a high level Division I Women's Swimming & Diving program? We routinely fly around the country to various locales for dual meets, and often include a team event in the process, EG - Fly to Boston to swim Boston College, then take a historical tour of the city the next day.
- Scholarship support. We are a fully funded D1 program and able to offer scholarship assistance, including stipend and Full Cost of Attendance Scholarships.
- Elite-level facilities. Our entire campus is rennovated and updated. Projects completed, ongoing, and future include, and are not limited to - science hall, library, two student centers, school of music, medical school, law school, business school, dorms, NCAA academic center and weight room, baseball field, softball field, 276 ft. Freedom Tower, and much more. Our brand new Natatorium is a top-3 facility in the country.
- Food! We can't forget the food! The dorms you will live in your freshman year have a full kitchen, with a full size oven/stove, fridge, freezer, etc, (your very own washer and dryer as well), so feel free to cook your meals if you choose. If on the run, stop by the #1 ranked dining hall in the country two years running, and while there check out the upgraded athletic dining area/options for a meal fit for Olympic champions.
If you are looking to Excel in the areas of life that matter most, namely the academic, athletic, healthy social, spiritual, and relational, then Liberty is the place for you. If you value Excellence, hard work, smart work, diligence, and so on and so forth, then Liberty is the place for you. If you combine the aforementioned with elite level times in the pool, or the potential to achieve said times (recall Meghan and Emily), then Liberty is most definitely the place for you and we are excited to get to know you and begin the process!
Head Swimming & Diving Coach