Atherley to Swim at Commonwealth Games
GW swimmer will represent her native Jersey at the international competition in April
George Washington's Gemma Atherley has been selected to represent her native Jersey in the pool at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The sophomore swimmer was among three additions Thursday to Jersey's contingent for the international competition featuring the 52 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. She'll compete in the backstroke events at the 2018 Games in April with a focus on the 200-meter distance.
"It really means a lot," Atherley said. "Being from somewhere so small, it's really exciting to represent my country on this kind of level and see where I stand. It's not something that everybody gets a chance to do."
Atherley has made a quick impact at GW since arriving last year from Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands. She earned Atlantic 10 Second Team All-Conference honors as a freshman after swimming on a pair of program-record relays at the conference championship.
Atherley is already on the program's all-time Top 10 list in three different individual events: 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke. She recorded her personal-best time of 2:00.45 in the 200 back at the Magnus Cup Invitational in November, good for No. 2 all-time among Colonials.
"I'm very excited and happy for Gemma and her progress that has put her in a position to compete at next year's Commonwealth Games," GW Head Coach James Winchester said. "As a program, it is a goal of ours to help our athletes achieve at the international level. After last summer's success with Gustav (Hokfelt at the World University Games), I'm very happy to see progression with some of our other athletes, too."
It sets Atherley up for a busy start to the new year. She'll get back in the pool with GW next month with an eye on an even better showing at the A-10 Championships, which run from February 14-17 in Geneva, Ohio. Soon after, she'll head for Australia's Gold Coast to represent her home island.
"Gemma has worked exceptionally hard for this dream, and she deserves all the recognition for it," Winchester said. "Now, the work begins to prepare for a successful spring at the collegiate and international levels."
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