How swimming has changed her life, in and out of the pool

Carly Schnabel, the captain of the women’s swimming and diving team, is one of 19 student-athletes who received the Colonial Athletic Association’s inaugural Leadership and Sport Excellence Award. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Roy Coates, who has coached the women’s swimming and diving team at Northeastern for more than two decades, said rising senior Carly Schnabel is “the best competitor and most driven person” he’s ever instructed.

“She strives to be excellent, but without being demonstrative about it,” Coates said of Schnabel, the co-captain of the team. “From the second practice begins, she goes after everything 100 percent.”

This month Schnabel received an award from the Colonial Athletic Association to honor her achievements in the pool, where she holds three school records, and the classroom, where she holds a 3.98 GPA.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

She was one of 19 student-athletes to receive the CAA’s inaugural Leadership and Sport Excellence Award, which honors those who the conference said embody “the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork, and sportsmanship.”

The award marks the latest honor Schnabel has received at Northeastern. She was named the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2016 and earned the team’s MVP and the Janet Swanson Award—for contributing the most to the team’s development—in 2017.

Now Schnabel wants to help the Huskies top their performance in the CAA Championships last season, when they finished fourth and won eight gold medals. The team’s first meet of the 2018-19 season is Oct. 6.

“For me, a successful season would be doing everything I can to see my team succeed,” said Schnabel, who noted that she is eager to step into a larger leadership role as co-captain.

Schnabel’s accomplishments in the pool are matched by her success in the classroom, where she is a political science major with a nearly perfect GPA. She wants to apply to law school after graduation and follow in the footsteps of her mother Cheryl, who is a lawyer.

Schnabel attributed her strong work ethic to her mother, who she said taught her the importance of working hard to achieve her goals.

Schnabel started swimming at 6 years old, and noted that the discipline and time management skills she’s acquired through years of training have influenced her approach to her academics. “Swimming requires a huge time commitment,” she said. “Growing up having to juggle both swimming and school has helped me become more focused and disciplined. It’s changed my life.”