Georgia swimmer set to compete for the Alaska Nanooks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Out of Buford, Georgia, Lainey Lioi is set to make her debut for the Alaska Nanooks swimming program in January. Lioi is part of a freshman group that includes five new athletes.
In the past four seasons, Lioi swam for the club team Swim Atlanta, being named a Gwinnett County All-Star her sophomore and junior seasons. In the 2020 Georgia High School 6-7A state championships, Lioi took 34th in the 50 free with a time of 25.61 seconds and 42nd in the 100 free at 56.02 seconds. Her best time came in the 2018 season when she scored a 25.32 in the 50 free during March Madness. Lioi joins a sprint free class that includes Kaia Norbye, Mesa Moran, Kyleigh McArthur and Cassandra Erdman.
“I love the team environment that has been created here,” said Lioi about joining the ‘Nooks. “I feel like the university values athletics and it’s just so nice to feel so supported by the coaching staff, by the program and by my teammates.”
Lioi is part of a freshmen group of Tayrn Aho, Cassandra Erdman, Shannon McCallum and Mesa Moran while getting a chance to learn under senior Oda Bygdnes. She has made a long trip to the Golden Heart City, traveling 4,201 miles from Buford.
“I’ve connected really well with a lot of the other freshmen,” said Lioi on the connections she is making with the Alaska roster. “We’re a very, tight, nit group.”
The Nanooks are under a new head coach, as Cameron Kainer takes for the Blue and Gold. In the past few seasons, Alaska had struggled to fill their roster spots, having the program lose in matches due to their low numbers. With five incoming freshmen, Alaska will look to be competitive in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference.
“It’s definitely a new perspective from a club,” said Lioi. “I feel like everything we do has a purpose and I’m not used to that from club team back home.”
The swimming schedule has not been released, but it is expected for the team to start competing in January.
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