Alanna Becker becomes the second Gering High School senior to sign with a NCAA Division I school in as many days after the Bulldog inked with the University of Nebraska Omaha to swim for the Mavericks next year.
The soft-spoken Becker said she was looking at other schools in Nebraska, but decided UNO was a perfect fit for her.
“I really liked the environment and the team is really nice and a lot of my family lives close by,” Becker said. “it is very exciting [to compete at the collegiate level. It has been a big dream of mine.”
Scottsbluff/Gering Seacats head coach John Galindo said UNO is getting more than a great swimmer, they are getting an exceptional student and leader.
“She is a great leader. Her attitude of getting up early every morning and leading the group [is great],” he said. “She is a born leader. She may have this shy personality up front, but once she breaks out, people will love her. She will bring a huge personality to that team and they are lucky.”
Galinso said that this summer was a perfect example of Becker dedication and leadership when they program learned they didn’t have a pool to swim in.
“I can tell you one thing about Alanna and that is she is very dedicated. She may think she hasn’t set goals, but every time she is always wanting to do better and sets a great precedence for the whole team,” he said. “She does everything I ask and above. She has done an amazing job and during the summer when we found out we didn’t have a pool, we made a plan and we were lucky the YMCA stepped up and said we will give you a home to swim. Alanna took full advantage of the YMCA and the training facilities they have there. She is very dedicated, and UNO is very lucky to have her as a swimmer.”
Becker has qualified for the state championships all three years and last year qualified for the final day. Becker said her goals are to do even better than last year.
“I want to get the best times in everything I swim in the 200 IM, 100 Back, 100 Breast,” she said. “And, maybe break school records.”
Galindo said those are easily attainable.
“I think we can break some records this year with the training she has put in this year,” he said. “She has one record right now, but I think we will rebreak that one. I think we can break the 100 Breaststroke, also.”
Becker started swimming competitively when she was nine years old. There were times she wanted to quit, but never did.
“There was a time I didn’t like it [swimming] but then something sparked, and I liked it again,” she said.
Galindo said what warms his heart is seeing student-athletes like Becker achieve greatness and get rewarded with a college scholarship.
“To see this as a coach, it makes my heart full of joy and it makes me proud that these kids can do swimming and become more than an athlete; they can become a student-athlete,” he said. “For us as a program, it is huge for us, with the trials and tribulations that we have with the pool, to have one of our athletes from Scottsbluff go to the collegiate level.”
Galindo is proud to have coached and been a part of Becker’s success the past few years.
“One thing about swimming is we are a major family and there is a lot of love between all of this team and we help each other out,” he said. “Alanna is a big part of that of organizing a lot of things as a team. She will be missed as a Seacat. I have been fortunate to have coached her most of her career or been a part of swimming and cheering her on, and I am very blessed to be her coach this year. She has the heart of a champion. That is for sure.”