#BroncosInTheCommunity Swimming Steps Up
Dec. 17, 2015

As our more than 450 student-athletes turn their focus to finishing the fall 2015 semester during finals week, Boise State Athletics wants to honor their achievements off the field by focusing on the work they have done throughout the community since starting the school year. Each day this week, BroncoSports.com will highlight one of the many examples of Broncos giving back to the community that gives so much to them and the athletic department. While their accomplishments in their respective field of play are what garners the most attention, the work done beyond athletics - both in school and in the community - makes us proud every day. Good luck during finals week to all of our student-athletes.

Monica Bottelberghe wanted to participate in a project that was very close to her heart. And when she brought the idea to participate in “Swim Across America” at Lake Washington near Seattle and raise money and awareness for cancer research to her teammates, there was no hesitation from the Bronco. They were all in.

“Swim Across America” is a program that holds swimming events across the country with the purpose of raising money and awareness for cancer research. The events are held in places from San Francisco all the way out to Boston.

Bottelberghe had experienced her own battle with cancer prior to coming to Boise State, but overcame the disease to be an important part of the Bronco swimming and diving team that finished second at the Mountain West Championships in 2015. This year, Bottelberghe has continued in her role on the team with the freestyle group.

For a Boise State squad that has won Mountain West titles in two of the past four seasons in addition to last year’s runner-up finish, they were going to channel that same drive and intensity into “Swim Across America.” With Bottelberghe, Felicity Cann and diver Tory Moyer taking the organizational reins, they initially set a modest goal for each team member to raise $250.

Thanks to a fundraising blitz that encompassed social media posts, emails and calls, the team far exceeded its overall goal of around $5,000, reeling in approximately $8,000 to donate to the cause.

Yet it wasn’t just the effort that had an impact on Bottelberghe and the Broncos. At the event itself, in addition to the actual swim on Lake Washington, the team got to share their own stories about how cancer has played a role in their lives, whether directly or by affecting a friend or family member. The team also heard reflections from many of the event’s volunteers, who themselves were cancer survivors or had been touched by the battles of loved ones.

The program’s support of and dedication to their teammate and to the cause came as no surprise to first-year head coach Jeremy Kipp. Because as the Broncos have already shown in the 2015-16 season, the effort and drive they show every day in the pool is just as intense as that which they show when giving back to the community.

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