Swimming Star Chooses Northwestern

Amanda Young, Business Editor

Senior Lizzy Follmer, a 4-year varsity athlete, recently committed to Northwestern University for swimming.

Follmer’s interest in swimming began when she was very young and happened almost by coincidence. “I actually showed up to a swim lesson, but the swim lesson was at a different pool, so I guess I joined the swim team instead,” Follmer explained. “I really liked the coach, so I continued [and went] from rec swimming to year-round swimming in 6th grade.”

Follmer is also part of Orinda Aquatics’ team, where she practices every day except for Sundays and has morning practices 3 times per week.

Prior to committing to Northwestern, Follmer explored other options. “I was looking at UCs and some other schools on the East Coast. I went on recruiting trips; I went to Boston College and then I went to Northwestern,” said Follmer. “I was going to go on a few more but I really really liked Northwestern and the team, and I thought that athletically and academically, it was the best combination for me.”

Ron Heidary, Orinda Aquatics and Campolindo swim coach, provided the Northwestern coach with a “strong recommendation” for Follmer. “Lizzy had the grades and I revealed to him that she is a high character person and a dedicated athlete with tremendous potential. Lizzy then went on a recruiting trip and he and the team loved her,” said Heidary.

Follmer’s brother, sophomore Mac Follmer, was in the 7th grade when his sister began looking at Northwestern. “She emailed with the coaches and went and visited and watched 1 of their practices. I went to that, and I told her after that if she went there I’d think it was cool.”

“It’s a little far away but I’m cool with it because it’s been her top choice for a long time, so I’m pretty excited about it,” Mac Follmer added.

As a freshman, Mac Follmer also joined Campo’s swim team, and he said that having his older sister there was very helpful. “She already knew everyone and the coaches, and she introduced me to the coaches so I got up to speed really quickly in high school swimming,” he explained.

Heidary said that Follmer has been an “outstanding role model and leader” for both the Orinda Aquatics and Campolindo teams and highlighted her success as an athlete, student, and person.

“She maintains near perfect attendance at Orinda Aquatics and Campolindo swimming. She works very hard and is a positive, supportive teammate,” Heidary said. “She is very disciplined and has expertly managed her training and schoolwork. Most important, Lizzy is a young woman of the highest character. I greatly appreciate her values and integrity and know that, in all situations, she will be an impeccable role model for our younger female athletes.”

Senior Paige Hanley, Follmer’s Campolindo and Orinda Aquatics teammate, is also excited for Follmer. “I knew she really wanted to go there, so her ending up having the opportunity to swim there is really exciting because it’s such a good school and it’s also a really competitive swim team,” said Hanley, who has known Follmer since 8th grade.

Heidary thought Northwestern was a perfect fit for Follmer. “With the balance of outstanding academics, fast Division 1 swimming and quality coaching, it was the best fit,” he said.

Hanley is confident that her teammate will have no problems adjusting to college swimming. “I think [Lizzy is a] really strong individual who will persevere through anything, so anything that comes her way, she’ll be able to tackle it. I think that’s really positive. I also just think she’s just a really nice, sincere person so I think she’ll have no troubles in college,” she said.

Heidary said, “The qualities that Lizzy possesses which will benefit her in college are 1st, her toughness which will allow her to deal with the challenges of training at that level, and 2nd, her values, which will allow her to be above the unhealthy social pressures of college.”