College Swimming & Diving
Rider’s Taylor Shelley ‘Big Al’ Inspirational Award
PRINCETON—Sophomore Taylor Shelley (Wilmington, Del./Padua Academy) of the Rider University women’s swimming and diving team was recognized as the recipient of the ‘Big Al’ Inspirational Female Swimmer Award, it was announced by Princeton on Sunday evening.
The award is given each year at the conclusion of Princeton’s ‘Big Al’ Open, which took place December 6-8, 2013.
Coaches in attendance at the meet nominate (then select) candidates from their teams who have provided inspiration to their teammates through their leadership or response to adversity. The recipient's name is added to the ‘Big Al’ trophy each year. The award was created at the inception of the meet and in the spirit of the meet's namesake, Alan Ebersole.
In October, 2013, after a week of piercing migraine headache pain and trouble with her vision that prevented Taylor from training and ultimately attending classes, doctors diagnosed what was a tumor on her brain near her pituitary gland. After a stressful period of appointments with specialists including neurosurgeons, endocrinologist and the Rider team physicians, Taylor returned to training less than 10 days after being diagnosed and competed four days later.
Thankfully, under the watchful eye of her family, medical support team and teammates, the tumor dissolved on its own and the dangerous complications from it subsided.
During the 2013 ‘Big Al’ Open, Shelley finished 13th in the finals of the 100 breast (1:07.79), 17th in the 200 breast finals (2:28.01) 21st in the 400 IM finals (4:41.00) and was 32nd in the preliminaries of the 200 IM (2:12.35).
Shelley was also on the 200 medley relay that finished ninth (1:48.92) and the 400 medley relay that placed 10th with a time of 3:57.57.
Shelley is a Biology major, carrying a 3.85 grade point average and as a Rider rookie, she was a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship finalist in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 breaststroke, helping the Broncs to a runner-up finish at the conference championship meet in Buffalo, New York.
“It is a great honor for Taylor to have been selected to receive the award,” said Rider head coach Steve Fletcher. “She is the first Rider athlete to have been nominated and recognized with the ‘Big Al’ Trophy. We are proud of her efforts, not only in the pool but in the classroom as well and we will not forget Taylor's positive attitude and the maturity with which she handled such difficult circumstances. We are grateful that she is healthy and back competing for Rider University.”
Shelley and the Broncs host Georgetown on December 20 at 3 p.m., at Coppola Pool in the Maurer Center.