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Wayne Post
  • Savage a star at Virginia Tech

  • Coming out of high school at Canandaigua Academy, Heather Savage could have never pictured herself becoming one of the most accomplished swimmers in Virginia Tech history. As a matter of fact, Savage didn’t even anticipate herself becoming a swimmer at Virginia Tech at all.Savage began her swim career at C...
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  • Coming out of high school at Canandaigua Academy, Heather Savage could have never pictured herself becoming one of the most accomplished swimmers in Virginia Tech history. As a matter of fact, Savage didn’t even anticipate herself becoming a swimmer at Virginia Tech at all.
    Savage began her swim career at Clemson University. However, during her freshman year, Clemson decided to phase out the swim team out in two years.
    “I was shocked when I found out,” Savage says. “I wasn’t ready to be done with my swim career and I couldn’t picture myself not swimming my senior year.”
    One of the biggest factors that brought Savage to Clemson was her love of the Atlantic Coast Conference. In many cases, though, players are not allowed to transfer in conference. But because Clemson was cutting its swim program, the NCAA gave the Clemson swimmers a blanket release that allowed them to transfer within the ACC.
    “That was one of the biggest things I looked at when I decided to transfer,” Savage says. “I love the ACC. I love everything this conference stands for. I think it has a great balance of academics and athletics. It was a huge deciding factor for me and I didn’t want to leave the conference.”
    Even after deciding to leave Clemson, however, Savage didn’t really consider Virginia Tech at first.
    “I really didn’t see myself going to a technical school,” she says. “But when I stepped foot on campus, I immediately fell in love. The area reminds me a lot of home. As soon as I got here, everything seemed to click.”
    And in the three years since becoming a Hokie, Savage has excelled. She holds the school and ACC records in the 100-meter butterfly with a 51.78 second time, and also has the Virginia Tech school record in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:56.54. She is an All-American and two-time ACC Champion in the 100 butterfly and was a member of the 200 and 400 medley relay teams that were named 2013 ACC Champions. She has also excelled in the classroom, being named the 2012 ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
    But to Heather, all of those individual accomplishments pale in comparison to the Hokies finishing second in the ACC this season.
    “That was the highest finish we have ever had as a program,” she says. “I honestly have never been more proud of anything in my career. Just to know that I was part of a team like that and part of such a great group of girls that really came together and worked and ultimately accomplished something so amazing.”
    Savage’s prodigious collegiate career will come to an end next week at the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships (March 21-23 at the IU Natatorium and IUPUI Sports Complex in Indianapolis), but the memories from this season will last forever.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Being able to build relationships with people who are going to be my lifelong friends has been the best thing about my career,” she says.
    After the NCAA Championships, Savage plans on attending pharmacy school. She will also decide if she wants to continue swimming professionally in the weeks after the Championships.
    “I’ve given it a little thought, but I’m going to wait and reserve judgment on what I want to do until after NCAAs are over,” she says. “I’m really just looking forward to decompressing and relaxing a little bit and finishing my senior year the best I can. We’ll see where life takes me.”
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