For someone who was apprehensive about swimming at the collegiate level, things turned out pretty nicely for Kayla Scott, a graduate of Rochester Adams who went on to attend Wayne State University, where she was part of the school’s swim program.
Since she was approximately 11 years old, she had only swam competitively for the Utica Shelby Swim Club, so when the opportunity came about to swim at Wayne State, while she may have been excited, Scott also recalled being nervous.
Little did Scott know all that awaited her at Wayne State, as she would go on to be part of accomplishments that made program and NCAA Division II history.
Scott’s experiences as part of Wayne State’s swim program includes being part of a Division II national championship team in 2012, being a 17-time All-American, being a two-time 100 breaststroke NCAA champion, and being on five national champion relay teams. She broke the Division II record in the 100 breaststroke her senior season after she “miraculously” recovered from an injury, and has been a part of 10 GLIAC titles, four individually and six on relay teams.
Scott, who graduated in May, is also one of only eight student-athletes in Wayne State history to be a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, and the eighth to be a two-time GLIAC Commissioner’s Award recipient.
“It exceeded my expectations,” Scott said of her time at Wayne State. “It opened the door to so many opportunities. I wasn’t just a student; I was a student-athlete. That’s something I’ll always have on my résumé. Going into my freshman year, I didn’t really think of it like that. I was just more so overwhelmed. But as the years progressed, I loved it more and more. As the years passed by, I just realized that this is something quite amazing that I’m a part of. Looking back now that I’ve completed four years, I wouldn’t have changed anything. Being able to reach such a high level of competition and being at Division II nationals is so incredibly amazing.”
“Couldn’t have been more proud of Kayla,” said Wayne State coach Sean Peters. “She worked extremely hard to become one of the best breaststrokers in Division II. She ended up setting the national record in her sophomore season in the 100 breaststroke, finished second in her junior season and reclaimed her title with the resetting of the national record in her senior season. With that, also an exceptional student and one of the highlight student-athletes at Wayne State University this past season. Overall, Kayla Scott did it right.”
While Scott’s days as a collegiate athlete are over, some of the lessons she has learned as a student-athlete may continue to benefit her in her transition to life as a noncompetitive swimmer.
“Teamwork, cheering on my teammates and leadership,” Scott said of life lessons that have come via athletics. “I was a captain this past year, and it wasn’t just about being a captain and having that label. It was about helping lead the team to success and being there for my teammates. Some people would take that captain thing to another level. But for me, personally, I didn’t look at it like that. I was just like everyone else, but I wanted to make sure I was there for my teammates as more of a main supporter, and making sure everything ran smoothly. Those are probably two main things I got from the swim team and I can carry on throughout life.”
Scott majored in psychology at Wayne State. She has considered attempting to attain a Ph.D. and pursuing a career as a sports psychologist.
For as much enjoyment as being an NCAA student-athlete has brought her, she also expressed excitement about possibilities that could lie ahead.
“It’s so exciting, but yet it’s nerve-wracking,” said Scott, who acknowledged support she has received from her parents, her brother and coaches at Wayne State, including Peters, Aquatics Director/Assistant Coach Bryce Pitters, Graduate Assistant Coach Cauli Bedran, and her coach from the Utica Shelby Swim Club, Erica Zuercher. “I almost feel like I did going into college four years ago. But after experiencing the four years, knowing that everything turned out fine and good, and it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it would be, I’m not as nervous. Just makes me more excited.”