Pennridge's Shema Commits to Swim at the University of Cincinnati

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, Pennridge senior Erin Shema was recognized for signing a letter of intent to continue her swimming career at the University of Cincinnati. To view photos of the signing event, please click on the following link:



Erin Shema – University of Cincinnati (Swimming)


Major:  Pre-Physical Therapy


Final list of colleges:  Cincinnati, Northeastern, Drexel, George Washington


Reasons for choosing Cincinnati:  “I chose Cincinnati because it had the perfect balance of academics and athletics that I was looking for. It wasn’t more focused toward one or the other. When I visited there, it felt like home. As an athlete, your teammates are your family. You practically spend every second with them. The other people on the team, as well as the coaches, were so welcoming.”


What was the progression that led you to competing in swimming at the collegiate level?  “I have been in the pool for as long as I can remember. After all, I started competing in US swimming when I was five, and I started competitive swimming when I was four. I got into the sport because my older sister swam, and naturally, as her younger sister, I wanted to be just like her.

“I would say that I always knew I wanted to swim in college. In the end, it was my friends, family and coaches who helped get me there. I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. Swimming was always something I planned on doing, and I feel like club swimming prepares you for college.”


Suburban Seahawks Club coach Charlie Kennedy says:  “One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Erin is her ability to work through challenges because she’s had some. It would have been easy for her to throw in the towel because she’s had to work through some physical issues and injuries with her shoulders. When she joined us three years ago, she had shoulder issues, and what I came to see was her willingness to really do the work, not complain – there was no whining. You have to be careful with athletics – you’ve got to be able to differentiate between discomfort which is telling you you’re pushing yourself versus discomfort which tells you you’re injuring yourself, so what she’s gotten really good at is just working around it. If the shoulders start giving her trouble, she doesn’t stop training. She just switches. If we’re doing butterfly, she may switch and go freestyle. What she does is she just finds a way to get the work done. She doesn’t just give up.

“Also, her desire to continue to get better – she’s always looking for ways to try and improve herself. As a coach, I really appreciate that. She always appreciates and responds to technical feedback. In race situations, she really is a competitor. I’ve never seen her throw a race. When she gets up on the block, it’s all or nothing. It’s really been fun coaching her because one of the things that she’s been able to do – when she came to us, her best events had been the backstroke and butterfly. What’s happened is she’s been working on all four strokes, and the stroke that was probably her weakest – the breaststroke – she got an NCSA Junior National cut last year, so that was very exciting.

“For me, it’s been so enjoyable to watch her work around these challenges and find new events to excel in. Now she’s a very strong freestyler, her breaststroke has come around, and she has a solid individual medley. Her backstroke, which had been strong, is working its way down as well. She’s really very well rounded. I would imagine in college she’ll be somebody you could put in any event. She’s got versatility. She is a warrior in terms of competition, and one of my favorite things – if she’s had a great swim, she just beams. You can see it from the other end of the pool. I always hope for a great swim from her because that’s how I can tell that she’s really pleased with herself. There will be times she has races where she’s disappointed, but she doesn’t mope. She’s a little disappointed, but then she moves on. It’s not staying with her the rest of the meet – it’s on to the next event. I tell the kids – ‘Swimming can be like baseball. You might strike out, but you might hit a home run the next time up, so don’t ever throw a meet away because your first event is not what you had hoped. She’s good at rebounding. If she has a swim she’s a little disappointed in, there’s a pretty good chance that the next one will be really good. It’s been a delight to have her. We’ll miss having her around and her work ethic. She’s a team kind of a person, gets along with the team. It’s been great having her. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens with her college career.”


About Erin:

Favorite food:  Any kind of pasta

Favorite TV show:  That 70s Show

Favorite music:  “Absolutely every kind of music, but my favorite artist at the moment is Juice Wrld.”



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