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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Bishop Diego Swimmer Shannon Slaught Signs with San Jose State

Senior star earns a scholarship as a breaststroke and freestyle specialist

Shannon Slaught, a senior at Bishop Diego High School, didn’t let being the lone female member of the swim team keep her from competing at the highest levels of her sport. Her determination, hard work and talent paid off this week as she signed an NCAA letter of intent to swim at San Jose State University.

Slaught, who earned her scholarship as a breaststroke and freestyle specialist, will compete in the highly competitive Western Athletic Conference.

Slaught has been swimming competitively since she was 8 years old. Last year, she made the move to the Santa Barbara Aquatics Club in order to be coached by Mark Warkentin, a former swimmer at USC and an Olympian who swam in the open water event at the Beijing Olympics.

“Shannon has worked very hard over the last year, and the SJSU coach recognized her ability and determination,” Warkentin said. “Shannon is going to have a great collegiate swimming career. Right now my primary focus is to get Shannon ready for the C.I.F. championships in the spring, where she has a good chance of becoming a C.I.F. champion in the 100 breaststroke.”

Kelley Slaught, Shannon’s mom and a former NCAA athlete in her day, put herself through the necessary training to qualify to coach her daughter in the Frontier League and dual meets, where she swam in lanes designated for “unattached” competitors. In the 2010 CIF Finals, Slaught took second in her division in the breaststroke and third in the freestyle.

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters was instrumental in paving the way for the existence of a swim program at Bishop.

“We’re excited for Shannon and really proud of her accomplishments,” he said. “We look forward to adding her to the list of Bishop’s NCAA and NAIA college athletes.”

Bishop Diego High School fields teams in 18 sports, and for the last several years 85 percent of students have played at least one sport with 50 percent playing two or more.

Bishop Diego is an independent, Catholic high school that welcomes students of all faiths.

— Ashley Snider, class of 1982, is the director of admissions and public relations at Bishop Diego High School.

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