UVA president and athletic director mark NCAA women’s swimming and diving championship win with a splash

UVA President's Big Splash_WVIR

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -University of Virginia President Jim Ryan made a big splash on social media Tuesday, March 30 after the women’s swimming and diving team won the NCAA Championship. He and Athletic Director Carla Williams jumped into the pool fully clothed.

Ryan says he and Williams thought it would be a creative way to celebrate the team’s first championship win, though he does have one regret.

”The only thing I would say is next time I’m going to take my shoes off before I jump in the pool,” he said.

UVA President Jim Ryan’s cannon ball jump has been shared more than 2 dozen times on Facebook and garnered more than 11,000 views on Twitter as of Wednesday, March 31.

“Carla Williams, our athletic director and I , unfortunately, weren’t able to be with the women’s swimming and diving team in Greensboro when they won the national championship. So we thought it would be fun to surprise them by jumping into the pool at UVA,” Ryan said.

Tyler Fenwick, the associate head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team, says the team navigated the season without one positive COVID-19 tests. That said, it had its challenges.

“The logistics of this year has really altered the way a normal season goes. Normally we’re in the water in the morning, we’re in the water in the afternoon, we’re lifting. This year, our first semester,we just did singles. So you’re either in the water in the morning or afternoon, so that’s a lot less swimming than our kids are used to,” Fenwick said.

Fenwick said the team’s secret to success is to just keep smiling. “Swimming is hard, swimming is not a game. To really reach your potential you have to have fun with it. You need to come into practice, you need to go into meets, and you need to be smiling,” he said.

For Jim Ryan, the moment left him soaked by water and filled with gratitude.

“I think all of the teams, all of the players, all of the coaches, all of the staff deserve a huge amount of credit simply for fielding teams and getting onto the field, getting onto the court,” Ryan said.

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