The Auburn Athletics Department honored the best in athletic and academic achievement for teams and individuals during the 2017-2018 season at its glitzy AUSPYs award program inside the Auburn Arena on Monday April 23.
Auburn Swimmer and Mormon Athlete Zoe Thatcher was honored as Auburn University’s Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. The Apparel Design Major with a Minor in Studio Art swims for the Auburn University Swimming and Diving Team where she is a three-time NCAA qualifier. As a junior, she took 27th in the 400 IM, 32nd in the 1650 Free and 33rd in the 500 Free at the NCAA Championships. Zoe also competed at the 2016 Olympic Trials and at the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships where she took 30th in the 400 IM, 40th in the 200 IM and 56th in the 400 Free. She has the fifth fastest time in Auburn history in both the 400 IM (4:09.50) and 500 Free (4:39.95).
Zoe will graduate next week with a 4.0. Two days before the AUSPY’s, Zoe was recognized, for the third straight year, with the Stanley Louis Sugar Memorial Scholar Award for earning the top GPA on the swim team. She’s also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and has been on the Dean’s List and SEC Academic Honor Roll every season of her collegiate career.Finally, Zoe is a graduate of the Church Education System’s Institute Program and credits Auburn’s Institute Director Brother Mark Beesley for recruiting her to Auburn. “On my official visit, the swim coaches took me to the small Mormon chapel across the street from the University and Brother Beesley welcomed us at the front door wearing an Auburn tie, Auburn belt buckle and a big smile.”
One of Zoe’s most memorable experiences was seeing Brother Beesley in the stands during her first meet as an Auburn swimmer. “We rarely swim on Sundays as college athletes,” Zoe said, “but at my very first meet down here, my parents couldn’t come, I was still only 17 years-old and I had to swim the mile on a Sunday.
Right before the race, I looked up in the stands and saw Brother Beesley standing there in a suit and tie. When I shrugged my shoulders asking him why he wasn’t at church, he yelled back: ‘Zoe, we are here for you!’
I’ve learned a lot from him in the twice-weekly Institute classes, but I will never forget that simple act of service that made me feel loved and supported.”