Campus News

SEC names UGA swimmer McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year

University of Georgia swimmer Maddie Locus has been chosen as the 2014-15 Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

She was chosen by a committee of faculty athletics representatives from SEC universities and will receive a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 26 remaining male and female finalists for the award—including Georgia swimmer Nicolas Fink—will receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship.

Locus is the eighth Georgia swimmer to earn SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, and Georgia leads the list with 10 honorees since the award began in 1986.

After receiving the award May 28 during the SEC spring meeting in Destin, Florida, Locus doesn’t have your typical summer plans. She will split her time between doing “math research” during her internship at Emory University and training for the World University Games, which will take place this July in South Korea.

The freestyle and butterfly sprinter from Sugarland, Texas, fast in the water and a summa cum laude graduate, is anything but typical.

Georgia coach Jack Bauerle has had plenty of outstanding swimmers and students over the years. Locus-for her work ethic in and out of the pool, for her mind and personality, for her determination, for just about everything she does-is among his all-time favorites.

Here are some actual words and phrases Bauerle used in a recent interview to describe Locus: demure; like a steel trap ready to spring; ridiculous; absolutely great; and like a cheetah.

Everything he said, he said with a smile, as though each sentence brought back a fond memory.

“I think she has a great sense of humor, she’s a great kid and I’m just proud of what she’s done here,” Bauerle said. “This SEC Scholar-Athlete award, that’s a spectacular win.”

She’s easy to like and easy to admire. And with the double major in mathematics and Italian, combined with her accomplishments in the pool, Locus makes achieving excellence across the board look pretty easy.

Along with being a math whiz and a standout in one of the most demanding of all collegiate sports, Locus studied Italian. And she earned the Outstanding Graduating Senior Italian Major/Minor Award.

“I didn’t just want to be doing math, so I thought, what would be fun to learn? And I’ve always wanted to learn Italian, and one of the reasons is because my mom is 100 percent Italian, but she doesn’t know Italian,” Locus said. “The language is beautiful and the country is beautiful. I did a study-abroad two summers ago in Siena, which is in Tuscany. I loved it.”

Locus graduated summa cum laude, was named to the SEC and UGA academic honor rolls, and earned UGA’s women’s swimming and diving scholarship. Locus was invited to the UGA Number Theory Seminar to present research from the Emory Research Experience for Undergraduates. She also was chosen as a speaker for the Romance languages graduation ceremony.

Locus holds the third-fastest time in the 50 freestyle, eighth-fastest time in the 100 freestyle and ninth-fastest time in the 100 butterfly in school history and she led off the 200 freestyle relay that set the Georgia record. Locus capped her collegiate swimming career by earning All-America status in the 50 and 100 freestyle and on the 200 and 400 freestyle relays at the NCAAs. She also notched All-SEC recognition with top-5 efforts in those events at the conference meet as Georgia won its sixth straight league title.

“I am humbled and truly honored to receive this recognition,” Locus said. “I am grateful to Georgia for the educational opportunity I’ve gotten. I have been fortunate to have such a strong support system of my family, coaches, teammates, classmates, professors, academic counselors and tutors, and friends. They have helped me evolve in my studies and in my swimming, and I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way that will benefit me the rest of my life.

“The University of Georgia cares for you on so many levels and these people have helped me grow so much,” she said. “We’ve achieved great things in the pool, but I’m equally proud of what we’ve done academically. It means the world to me to accept this award on behalf of UGA and everyone associated with our swimming and diving program.”

The original Athletic Association news releases on Locus’ selection are available at and