It's a blustery day in November, and Margaret Hover, a junior on the Wilmington College (WC) women's swimming team, has just finished biology class. Hover then heads to practice to build upon her already phenomenal junior season.
Hover is driven to qualify for finals events at the OAC Championships. In her first two years, she placed in the consolation final of two freestyle races along with competing in the finals of the 1,650-yard freestyle. Over the summer, Hover took training very seriously.
"I trained really hard over the summer as I have specific goals I want to accomplish at the end of the season," Hover said. "Even when I was tired, I got to the gym or the pool every day."
That dedication has carried over to her academics, where Hover carries a 3.96 cumulative grade-point average. After all, she's at Wilmington College to get an education first.
"I always keep in mind that I'm here for school," said Hover. "I set aside time every day to get schoolwork done. I try and stay ahead so I don't ever have to cram."
A constant that's helped Margaret excel both as a student and as an athlete – the faculty at WC.
"I always talk to my professors ahead of time when I'm going to miss class for a competition," she said. "They give me notes or are very open to me coming in during office times if I have questions about what I missed."
In the pool thus far this season, Hover holds the Fightin' Quakers' top times in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle and several relays. The junior has won eight individual events, including the 200-yard freestyle in 3-of-5 dual meets, as well as being a part of WC's 200-yard freestyle relay squad that hasn't lost a race yet this year.
"Margaret's success and continued improvement is a testament to her work ethic as she has been able to consistently perform well both academically and athletically, even during times of stress," Wilmington Head Women's Swimming Coach Trip Breen said. "She is an outstanding leader and truly represents the very best of NCAA Division III student-athletes."
She does all that while also being the Vice President of the Eco Club, which aims to raise awareness on ecological issues.
"We've done some pollution pick-up around the area as well as inform people about invasive species such as honeysuckle," Hover said.
Hover is less than halfway through her junior year. Though she still has many memories to make, getting this far has been largely due to making both academics and athletics a person priority.
"When I came to Wilmington, I didn't have anyone telling me to get my homework done. The onus was and is on me" Hover said. "It's my choice to be here and to swim. I do want to do well."
And doing well, she is.