Fluvanna County High School senior Yvonne Smith spent much of her childhood as a competitive gymnast, until a badly fractured ankle forced her to start swimming instead.
The switch has paid off for Smith. On Friday, she signed her letter of intent to swim and dive in college at Radford University.
"I went and visited Radford for the weekend, and it was beautiful," said Smith, who was also considering Division-III Randolph-Macon. "And I loved the education opportunities. And the swim team was super nice, so it was just like, this is home."
As a junior, Smith was the only athlete in Virginia to qualify, compete, and place in both swimming and diving events at the AA state meet. She reached states again as a swimmer this past season.
Smith says the Highlanders have talked to her about swimming the 50- and 100-freestyle, as well as the 100-backstroke in college. And while she's excited for the opportunity to compete at Radford, Smith admits she'll miss her fellow Flucos.
"I can't even sum up in words how swimming at Fluvanna County was," she said. "We all became a huge family, and I've made some of my best friends on this team. It's been an honor to swim for these people."
"She'll be very hard to replace, because she was so versatile in terms of what she could swim, as well as being an excellent diver. And as well as being a leader on the team," said her coach, Jimmy Small. "So she's going to be big shoes to fill."