San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztec junior swimmer Alex Roberts leaves a legacy at SDSU with two years still to go

Mountain West swimmer of the year Alex Roberts keeps getting better every season and competed in her first two NCAA Championship meets this past March
Charlie Stelzmiller
Alex Roberts poses at the Aztec Aquaplex.

San Diego State junior swimmer Alex Roberts was part of the SDSU swim and dive team’s 50th-straight dual meet win back in late January, back-to-back Mountain West Championships in mid-February and two meets in the NCAA Championship. 

Before she had a successful 2022-23 season at SDSU, she played water polo until she took on swimming her junior year at Redwood High School.

“I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to swimming,” Roberts said.

Even though her passion and determination to pursue swimming came later, Roberts had a lot of love for the sport and it ran through the family blood line as her dad was a non-collegiate swimmer, her uncle was a swim coach and her cousins also swam.

When head coach Mike Shrader, who was named Mountain West swim coach of the year for the second year in a row, first watched Roberts compete in high school, before she was recruited to SDSU, he got to meet the Visalia, California native’s parents and immediately “fell in love with the family.

“They are just awesome people, love her parents and you can see why she turned out so well,” Shrader said. “Just getting to know them and just in their home and spending a little bit of time with them, I said, ‘Man, we gotta get this girl on our team.’”

Shrader saw all of what Roberts was capable of being; a “hard worker” with a “winning attitude.”

She arrived at SDSU in 2020 when the world was navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, which was tough on her mental health. Even with her success swimming in high school, she realized swimming in college is much different.

“I was pretty good for high school level, but once I got to college, I realized I was just bottom of the barrel,” Roberts said. “I really had to rely on my love for swimming, not really think about the competitiveness and work on myself. I could only rely on myself and learn to love myself inside the water, outside the water and just having fun with it.” 

In her first season with the team, she experienced Mountain West Championship competition and finished the 100-yard backstroke in sixth place during the finals. Her placement was a collegiate-best time of 55.60, earning her all-MW (Mountain West) honors.

Then, she took her sophomore year to another level, setting eight career-best times during the season. In the 2022 Mountain West Championships, which the team won, her 100-yard butterfly time of 53.68 was the fifth fastest in program history. Her 200-yard backstroke time was the third quickest ever swam by an Aztec.

Roberts went on to compete in the 2022 Phillips 66 Summer Nationals and finished in 24th place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.06.

In the 2022-23 season, one of her main goals of the season was to compete harder in the 2023 Mountain West Championships so she can swim in the NCAA Championships, since she barely missed out the previous season.

“I knew at our conference championships, I really wanted to lock it in,” she said.  “I swam it (the 200-yard backstroke) three times at our conference meet to try and get as fast enough time as I could to try and qualify. Then at the finals at conference, I got my fastest time and that is when I knew that has to get me in.”

Her school and conference record in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:52.89, Roberts said, placed her higher than she expected and added to her excitement. Her time was 23rd in the nation and gave her the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee.

She originally was going to compete in three meets; the 100-yard backstroke and butterfly and the 200-yard backstroke. Since both the 100-yard backstroke and butterfly were on the same day, she decided not to do the 100-yard butterfly and focus on her backstroke.

When it came to the NCAA Championships, Shrader did not set high expectations for Roberts and the other swimmers competing.

“We came with an intention of winning, but here, we are just here to have fun,” she said. “We are not expected to win, we already did so well at (the Mountain West Championships).”

Roberts finished in 40th place in the 100-yard backstroke then tied for 20th place in the 200-yard backstroke. Her 200-yard backstroke time was .46 seconds off from getting her into the finals.

Roberts capped off her third season with the team with a swimmers only long course meet (50 meter pool) at the Aztec Aquaplex against the University of San Diego Toreros, her first competition since mid-March.

She competed in 11 heats and her most impressive heats were the 100 meter backstroke and the 50 meter backstroke. She finished the 100 meter backstroke in 1st place with a time of 1:08:90 and the 50 meter backstroke in second place with a time of 32.21.

Both the 100 and 200 yard backstroke are her specialities, but with summer approaching, she is now getting into the long course season. The long course pool is the length used to compete at the USA Olympic Trial level.

“I’ll be focusing more on that (100 meter backstroke) but also trying to get my 200 backstroke at the same level as my 100 back long course,” Roberts said after the USD meet. “Also my 100 fly is pretty competitive also so (I will) be focusing on those three for the summer.” 

Shrader said one of Roberts’ goals is to make it to the Olympic trials and with much more improvement, she can turn that goal into reality. 

“I think she is really just getting started, as crazy as that sounds,” Shrader said. “She is a phenomenal young lady and the good lords really blessed me to coach Alex Roberts.”

About the Contributor
Adam Correa
Adam Correa, Senior Staff Writer
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism and media studies. This is his second year with The Daily Aztec. He loves watching sports, reading, and going to the gym in his free time. He mainly writes for the sports section, but also loves doing on-camera reporting and multimedia content. He previously was the assistant sports editor and blog editor for The Telescope newspaper at Palomar College. In the summer of 2022, he did an internship with Thesocialtalks digital newspaper, where he wrote for the latest news, opinion, and sports section. When he graduates from San Diego State University, he wants to be a sports writer for a popular newspaper organization or a sports reporter for a tv station.
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Aztec junior swimmer Alex Roberts leaves a legacy at SDSU with two years still to go