PISCATAWAY, NJ - Former Rutgers swimmer Michelle DeFreese has been chosen to represent the U.S. in the FINA World Cup Circuit this winter. She will be a part of the delegation that will compete at the World Cup event in Daejon, Korea, Nov. 24-25, and she is the first Rutgers swimmer in more than 30 years to be chosen to represent the U.S. in an international competition.
DeFreese, currently ranked 75th in the world in the 100 meter butterfly, concluded an outstanding collegiate career last year, setting numerous school and conference records while helping propel the women’s swimming and diving team to a No. 37 final ranking in 2003. At the 2003 NCAA Championships, she finished 27th in the 100-yard butterfly, with a time of 54.53. In qualifying for the NCAAs, she defended her 2002 conference title and set the Rutgers and BIG EAST record in the event with a time of 53.32. In addition to her record in the 100 butterfly, DeFreese was a member of the BIG EAST record-setting 200 medley relay team in 2003.
“ When you are building a top women’s collegiate program, it’s critical to have people that can and will do things that have never been done before,” said seventh-year Rutgers head coach Chuck Warner. “For Michelle to earn a spot as a part of the USA squad to the World Cup in Korea is breaking the ground that we expect other Rutgers swimmers to travel. In the future, we hope that Rutgers swimmers will be regular members of USA national teams, and Michelle is leading the way.”
In 1973, FINA, the world governing body for swimming, started the World Championships as an opportunity to organize a competition in the winter season that, since then, ranks alongside the Olympic Games as one of FINA’s most important competitions. The last RU Swimmer to be apart of a U.S. delegation was Ellen Wallace. In 1977, Wallace represented the U.S. at the Pan-Am Championships and has since been inducted into the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame