Swimming: Garza signs a D-I national letter of intent

MacKenzie Garza signs a D-I national letter of intent to compete in swimming for the San Jose State Spartans

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

visalia – The first Division I signee in recent history for the Golden West Blazers put pen to paper last Wednesday. Swimmer MacKenzie Garza signed a national letter of intent to the San Jose State Spartans on a partial scholarship.

“This is just insane,” Garza said. “It was a dream of mine, but never thought I would get to this level.”

Garza first began swimming in the Golden West pool at age 7 when she competed for the city team the Buccaneers. She used to look at the records board at the aquatic center, and dream about having her name up there. It seemed to be too far of a stretch until her freshman season when she made the commitment to give swimming everything she had.

Four years later, Garza has three official school records to her credit. She owns the record in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 100 backstroke. According to Golden West Athletic Director John De Long, the number of personal, school, and West Yosemite League records is approximately 19.

“This is kind of a big deal when you get your college paid for by being really good at something,” De Long said. “We are going to see her name up on the record board for a long time.”

Garza was a big part of the Blazers bringing home this season’s Division II Valley Championship. It is the school’s first section title in the sport.

“At the beginning of the year I knew we had potential,” Garza said. “I didn’t think valley was going to come out of it, but we all worked very hard.”

Garza was sold on her official visit to San Jose State. The atmosphere at the university felt very welcoming to Garza. Not to mention the coaching style of Sage Hopkins met what she was looking for in a program.

Hopkins is in his 13th season with the Spartans, and has established it as a collegiate power. His overall record is 69-25-1. A total of 44 all-WAC awards have been handed out to Spartan swimmers during Hopkins time as coach.

“[Garza] has tremendous potential to excel during her college career,” Hopkins said.

Garza hopes to make an immediate impact when she arrives this fall. She is looking forward to the chance to compete at a highest level, and in faster meets.

“I am going to try my best,” Garza said. “All of the girls are extremely fast, and I can see all of them work hard.”

Garza will study journalism.

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