An injury that nearly ended the swimming career of SBCC’s Emily Reilly turned out to be the starting block toward a career goal.
Reilly’s plan is to apply to a school in the UC system, major in biology and then continue her education at an allopathic medical school and specialize in the field of pathology.
She is staying on course with her studies at SBCC, posting a grade point average of 3.88. Her class load includes chemistry, physics, computer science and honors ethics.
The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table is honoring Reilly as the Scholar Athlete of the Year at SBCC.
Reilly suffered a shoulder injury while swimming for Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev., and was told her career in the sport was over, she said.
She wouldn’t accept that prognosis and decided to learn massage therapy, focusing on sports injury recovery.
“I worked towards healing myself so I could get back in the water,” she said.
That piqued her interest in science.
While at SBCC, she’s been honored as a National Science Foundation STEM Scholar, and a David W. Doner Jr., MD Biological and Life Science Scholar; she’s on the SBCC President’s Honor Roll, is a member of the Phil Theta Kappa Honors Society and is in the SBCC Honors Program.
She also is president of the SBCC Pre-Med Club.
“I have been very fortunate in my laboratory and clinical experiences, which have served to expand my knowledge and guide my educational direction,” said Reilly of her studies at SBCC. “Using this knowledge, I have been able to assist my fellow SBCC classmates as a STEM tutor, especially in regards to anatomic dissection.”
In the pool, she was part of an undefeated Western State Conference championship for the Vaqueros in spring of 2019. She finished third in the 400 individual medley and fourth in the 200 backstroke.
This past fall, she played her first season of water polo and took on the demanding position of center defender.
Reilly likes challenging herself in the water. She’s done ocean swims in San Francisco Bay, Boston Harbor and the Florida Keys and a lake swim in Glacial Lake of central Oregon.
She hopes to do a Channel Islands channel crossing in the fall with SBCC swim coach Chuckie Roth.
“Coach Roth has agreed to swim the channel with me, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” she said.
Given another year of eligibility because the spring was canceled due to coronavirus pandemic, the sophomore plans to swim for the Vaqueros in 2021.
“With the extra time to train, I hope to go All-American in the 400 IM and 200 back,” she said.