Ali Leberfinger Prepares For Final Lap Of CofC Career
CofC Athletics Communications
Charleston, SC – Many student-athletes choose the school that they attend based mainly on the athletic perks of that school. When senior swimmer Ali Leberfinger chose College of Charleston, she knew that academics were more important to her than athletics.
“I knew I wanted to be a communications major,” Leberfinger said, “I originally looked Division III but found out that the College of Charleston had a great communications program and I got in touch with head coach Bruce Zimmerman.”
Academically, Leberfinger has helped the Cougars reach new heights of academic achievement. Last season the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) garnered Scholar All-America honors on the CofC women’s swimming and diving team. The Cougars ranked 18th in the nation among all women’s swimming & diving programs.
When Leberfinger looks back on her experience and career at the College of Charleston, she knows that she loved the swimming but that the best memories have come outside of the pool. Being from Chatham, N.J., Ali expected a huge culture shock when she arrived in South Carolina but, she found that Charleston wasn’t as different from New Jersey as she thought it would be.
“Everybody kept telling me I was in for a huge culture shock but I found that, in Charleston, there are so many people from so many places that it is a nice mixture,” she said.
Leberfinger was able to take advantage of the study abroad programs that the College offers and took a trip to Italy recently. She had such a wonderful experience that she has trouble describing how much she loved the trip.
“Words can’t even describe the trip; ‘amazing’ doesn’t do it justice,” she said. “It was absolutely the best month of my life…hands down. I met amazing people. I still talk to everyone on the trip.”
Along with her academics and experiences abroad, Leberfinger would be remiss to leave out how much being a student-athlete, and a swimmer at that, has made her a better person. From the grueling practices and excitement of competition to the camaraderie she formed with her teammates, Leberfinger knows she made the right decision in coming to College of Charleston.
“It’s definitely been a struggle at times,” Leberfinger said. “But my teammates and friends here have helped me keep going. I’m glad that I will have made it all the way through to the end.”
With the swimming team having a traveling squad for the first time this year, Leberfinger has noticed a difference in the team and how they practice and prepare for meets.
“This is probably the most hard-working and dedicated team that we have had,” she said, “It’s kind of scary how competitive it can get.”
As the team has been practicing, it has given Ali a chance to look back on her career as a Cougar. She realizes how fast everything has gone by since she arrived in Charleston as a freshman.
“Four years feels really long, but at the same time when you look back on it, it seems short. I still remember everything about my freshman year. When I’m leading stretches and leading everyone in the team cheers and communicating between the team and the coaches, I look back to my freshman year and I remember the captains back then.”
As the spring season begins, Leberfinger hopes that Charleston still has many wonderful experiences to offer her.