Ashley Volpenhein can now officially add Stanford signee to her already impressive resume.
Volpenhein is a consensus top 15 recruit in the country for the class of 2017. She will be joining one of the most prestigious swimming programs in the country. According to Volpenhein, swimming with the cardinal and white has always been a dream of hers.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Volpenhein said. “Stanford has always been a dream of mine ever since freshman year when I really started to think about swimming in college. When I committed, it was just really surreal and I can’t wait for the opportunity.”
When narrowing down colleges, Volpenhein was looking for more than just swimming and put a lot of emphasis on academics.
“Stanford embodied everything I was looking for in a college,” Volpenhein said. “For me, it was definitely more about academics. I went through schools and eliminated them based off their academic level and obviously Stanford is hard to beat and their swimming program was icing on the cake. (Stanford) has such a cool atmosphere and to have these student-athletes that are the best at what they do in and out of the pool was something I wanted to be apart of.”
Head coach Mark Sullivan said he was impressed with Volpenhein’s ability to balance both academics and swimming.
“The thing about Ashley is that she’s got high academics,” Sullivan said. “You don’t get into Stanford for just swimming alone. She’s taking all of these AP classes but still manages to put a lot of work towards swimming. She’s a true student-athlete.”
With Olympic athletes Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel on Stanford’s roster, Volpenhein is excited to learn from the Olympians and looks forward to swimming with them.
“It’s extremely humbling to be on the same team as possibly the greatest female swimmer ever,” Volpenhein said. “I’m very excited to learn from them and see what they do and how they manage their swimming and what they do different from me. Obviously, there are things I can learn from them. I’m excited to see how it goes.”
Volpenhein has had a decorated career at Mason. She is a six time state champion heading into her senior year and is the current state record holder in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events. Sullivan said Volpenhein’s character and her admiration for high school swimming set her apart.
“She always seems to set very high goals for herself,” Sullivan said. “She’s got great moral character. The thing that I like about her is that she’s actually done some international competition before and a lot kids when they get really good, they think high school is beneath them. But she really loves high school. She really loves to compete in high school and she really enjoys the connections as well as the atmosphere of high school meets. That’s what I think really sets her apart.”
The high school atmosphere Volpenhein experienced at Mason is something that she plans to take with her to Stanford. Volpenhein thanked her teammates for playing a huge role in creating a supportive environment.
“The relationships I’ve made with my teammates will always be with me,” Volpenhein said. “Learning how to support them and them supporting me is something I’ve learned from them and hopefully that will carry on to Stanford. I hope college swimming as supportive as it was here.”
Sullivan believes that Volpenhein will only get faster once she starts swimming at Stanford.
“I think she’ll do great,” Sullivan said. “She’s got so much potential. I still think, even as fast as she is, that she is going to get better. She’s going to be surrounded by other really talented kids. (At Mason) she trains and competes with kids that she can pretty much dominate. (At Stanford), the competition is going to be at her ability or better and she’ll be ready for the challenge.”