- by Mount Saint Mary College
Three swimmers standing together at Commencement in their cap and gown holding their diplomas.

From left: Sophia Reinhardt of Port Ewan, Shayla McCarroll of Clifton Park, and Daley O'Keefe of Marlborough, Conn.

Swim team trio pursues doctorate degrees

Three grads from the Women's Swimming team truly lived up to the phrase "student-athletes" by excelling in their sport and being accepted into doctorate programs before graduating from the Mount.

In the pool, Sophia Reinhardt, Shayla McCarroll, and Daley O'Keefe made successful marks at the college, helping the Knights to three straight runner-up finishes at the Skyline Conference Championship Meet. 

McCarroll earned Second Team All-Conference accolades in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events and won the 200-yard backstroke in 2019, on her way to being named First Team All-League in the event. 

O'Keefe posted seven top-10 finishes at the Skyline Conference Championship over a three-year career. O'Keefe's best finish at the championship came with third place showings in the 1,000-yard freestyle in both 2018 and 2019, before COVID-19 concerns cancelled her 2020 season. 

Reinhardt scored five top-10 finishes for the Mount at the Skyline Conference Championship. Her career best finish for the Knights was in the 200-yard backstroke in 2019.

Outside of the pool, the women were just as successful, with each swimmer landing on the Skyline Conference Academic Honor Roll three times. 

McCarroll, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, began pursuing her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Utica College in June. She believes that the Mount prepared her by enhancing her already strong work ethic: "It taught me time management, because you have to juggle early morning practices and school work," she explained. "It taught me that when you get work, just do it. Don't wait."

O'Keefe, who chose the Mount for both its five-year Education and swimming programs, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Education while also minoring in Hispanic Studies. She began her doctorate degree work in August at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Mount professors "are easy to talk to and willing to help," she explained. "I'm going to another small school like this, so I know it's going to be a similar experience."

Reinhardt had been recruited to swim for the Knights out of high school. She completed the five-year track in only four years and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Master of Science degree in Adolescent Education/

Special Education. She begins work on a Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics Education at Columbia University Teachers College in the fall of 2021. She believes that the time management skills she acquired being a student-athlete will serve her well moving forward. 

"As a student-athlete...a majority of our time in school we have to balance everything," said Reinhardt. "It helps you create a schedule to be a productive college student and won't allow you to fall behind."

All three were also part of the Mount's first-ever class of Chi Alpha Sigma, the only National Honor Society for Student-Athletes. To earn induction to the Chi Alpha Sigma, a student-athlete must be at least a junior academically and hold a 3.4 grade point average or better. 

As they prepared for the next steps in their academic journeys, the three swimmers reflected on how they supported each other during their time at the Mount.

"Daley was my number one sounding board," McCarroll recalled. "I was trying to decide between two different schools and asking what are the pros of this school, what are the cons? That was really helpful."

"It's very different fields we are all going in, but we were definitely there every step of the way checking in on each other," noted Reinhardt.

O'Keefe lived with McCarroll and was in the five-year program with Reinhardt. 

"We're all really close and we're all up there when it comes to academics," she explained. "It's just something about this class that we're all really motivated to do well in everything that we do."


Come say hello...

Let us show you around