Victoria Schachle

Monroe Catholic High School senior Victoria Schachle answers a question from an audience member in the Monroe Catholic library during her National Letter of Intent signing Tuesday with the women’s swimming program at Concordia University Irvine in California. 

The outdoor pool at Concordia University Irvine wasn’t the only reason Victoria Schachle decided to swim for the NCAA Division II program in California.

It was a good selling point for the Monroe Catholic High School senior, who signed a National Letter of Intent with Eagles during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the Monroe Catholic library. 

“It’s going to be a nice adjustment,” Schachle said with a laugh after signing the NLI.

“I’m really excited because I love swimming in outdoor pools,” she added.

Competing in indoor pools will still be part of Schachle’s collegiate career, especially if the Eagles visit the University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s team during Schachle’s career. The Eagles and Nanooks are members of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference.

Competing against the Nanooks, whether at UAF or in California, also was a factor in the 17-year-old Monroe Catholic senior’s decision.

“I think it did because when I go to conferences (meets), I’ll see some of my friends who I know are swimming for those schools,” Schachle said.

Schachle was joined at a table by her parents, Traci and Ehran, and Christine Keill, who has coached Monroe Catholic for two seasons, and Josh Gregory, head coach of the Stingray Swim Club, which Schachle started competing for when she was 10 years old.

“He’s (Gregory) always been there for me and supported me, and he’s always been there through my decisions,” Schachle said. “She’s (Keill) only been coaching for two years but she knows how to handle my mental status during meets, and that really helps.”

Schachle laughed when she was asked about her mental status.

“Well,” she said, “I get a little stressed and I can put a lot of pressure on myself but she really knew how to take the pressure off. She helped me learn how not to be stressed.”

Bert Bergen, who’s in his first season as Concordia Irvine’s head coach, also helped put Schachle at ease when she made her campus visit in late October.

“He told it would be more stressful than high school swimming but he said there’s a great team there with him, and they’re there to help with whatever I needed,” Schachle said.

The Eagles also mark Bergen’s debut as a collegiate head coach.

“It impressed me that he’s already got the team so far ahead from where they were the year before and what his goals were for the next few years,” Schachle said.

Schachle plans to major in business and psychology at Concordia Irvine. For the Eagles, her specialties will be sprint freestyles (50 and 100 yards) and the 100-yard backstroke.

“The college is really nice in a beautiful area,” she said. “The team was really sweet and welcoming, and the coach had a great philosophy for his team in the next few years.

 “It impressed me that he’s already got the team so far ahead from where they were the year before and what his goals were for the next few years,” Schachle said.

Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.