Local swimmer competes in NCAA championship

San Diego State’s Alex Roberts swims in a meet. The Aztec and former Redwood Ranger competed in the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta last month. (San Diego State Athletics)

Redwood alumni Alex Roberts plunges into swimming and diving championships in Atlanta, represents San Diego State as she competes in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstrokes

ATLANTA – At the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta last month, Alex Roberts represented the Central Valley. The former Redwood Ranger and now San Diego State Aztec swam in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke against the best competition in the nation.

In the 200 preliminaries, Roberts took 19th with a school-record and Mountain West record finish of 1:52.76. In the 100, she took 30th in the preliminaries with a finish of 52.08. With those times, she did not qualify for the finals of the championship. But with this being her second straight season competing in the NCAA championships, Roberts believes she was better prepared this time out.

“I knew I could fit in with these girls and I was a lot more confident this go around, and I think my swims definitely reflected that,” Roberts said. “With this being my second time around, it was definitely a lot easier to go and compete. I feel like the previous year I was starstruck not having been there before and competing against Olympians and national champions.”

Roberts qualified for this season’s NCAA championship after taking the gold medal in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:52.92 at the Mountain West Championship in February. She did not believe she would be successful in this event when she first went to college, so bringing home the gold medal was quite rewarding for Roberts.

“In the 200-yard backstroke, I never thought I would be really good at that event,” Roberts said. “When I came to college, I really started training my backstroke endurance and I just had such a great team to train with.”

Roberts also placed in other events at the Mountain West Championship. She finished second in the 100-yard backstroke with a finish of 51.95 and she took second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.96.

When she attended Redwood, Roberts competed in the swimming team under head coach Walter Bricker who she credits for making her a better swimmer. Every day during the high school season, he helped Roberts with her technique and would work with her even when practice was over. While she appreciates her college coaches, Roberts was thankful for how much attention Bricker paid to her.

“I was just grateful to have him and to be that person in my life for those four years to really help me go to the next level,” Roberts said. “He made me very confident too in my swimming abilities and he encouraged me that I could go Division I and that I could swim in college.”

Roberts graduated from Redwood in 2020 and earned a scholarship to swim for the Aztecs. During her time at San Diego State, Roberts has studied business management. Even though she is a senior, Roberts has another year of eligibility left to swim for the Aztecs. As she looks ahead to her final year of competition, Roberts is ready to take that next step and do better at the national championships next year.

“After all these experiences, it really showed me that I can put my mind to anything that I want to do. And every goal that I have, there’s always a step further that I can go,” Roberts said. “It’s doable for me, so I think I’m going to take it a step further and I’m going to set my sights on the final next year.”

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