Squalicum's Bock fulfills D-I dream to swim at Seattle U


Squalicum's Carlee Bock is The Bellingham Herald's All-Whatcom County Girls Swimmer of the Year.


Squalicum graduated senior Carlee Bock said she's always dreamt of swimming for a big NCAA Division I school, pretty much since she started swimming for the Bellingham Bay Swim Team 11 years ago.

But when the time came for her to make a decision about where she wanted to swim, the six-time Class 2A state champion realized that bigger wasn't necessarily better.

"K through eight, I went to a smaller school," Bock said in a phone interview. "I went to the Waldorf School, and I realized smaller was a better fit for me."

Fortunately, that didn't mean she had to give up her big dreams of swimming for a Division I school.

Bock has signed her National Letter of Intent to swim at Seattle University, which competes in the Western Athletic Conference and had a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,589 in 2012.

Bock said she chose the Redhawks over the University of Puget Sound and the University of Wyoming, though she also looked at Mesa (Colo.) College, the University of New Mexico and the University of Washington.

"Seattle just moved up to D-I a couple of years ago, so it's really exciting," Bock said. "I have a lot of friends that are swimming in the WAC, and there is some pretty good competition there."

Seattle U finished ninth at the conference meet in March and saw senior Kevlyn Richards qualify for the World Championship Trials later this month at Indianapolis after she made it to the U.S. Olympic Trials last year.

"They're a really welcoming and fun group," Bock said. "They have a new coach, Craig Nisgor (entering fourth season), and he seems to be trying to build the program up so that it can compete at the top level. He seems really excited about the direction that the team is going."

Bock said Nisgor's coaching style is similar to that of former BBST coach Todd Edison, and that was something that drew her to Seattle U.

The Redhawks recently announced 10 swimmers from throughout the Western United States had signed with the program for next year.

"We are very excited about our incoming class of women for next year," Nisgor said in a press release. "It is an extremely talented group and we know that they will make an immediate impact in every aspect of our training and our meets. ... Six of these women have already done times that would rank in the all-time top five here at Seattle U."

Bock is among those six swimmers.

Her best time of 57.54 seconds in the 100 backstroke would currently rank second on the Redhawks all-time list behind only a 57.15 turned in by Francesca Reale in 2008, while her 2:03.16 in the 200 backstroke would be the best time in school history, beating out the 2:03.23 Rachel Leighter swam in 2010.

Both of Bock's times already stand as BBST records in the girls' 17-18 division and the Open Women's division, as does her time of 27.25 seconds in the 50 backstroke, which is not a collegiate event. Bock also joined with Audrey Shenkin, Sydney Wong and Taylor Shewchuck in 2011 to break the club's 400 freestyle relay mark with a time of 3:35.78.

Bock focused solely on swimming for BBST as a senior, but before that she helped the Squalicum girls' swim team to 2A state titles in 2009 and 2010.

Individually, Bock won the 2A title in the 100 backstroke in 2009 (1:01.16), 2010 (59.45) and 2011 (57.61). She also was part of the Storm's 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay state titles in 2010 and a 400 freestyle relay crown in 2010.

She said she expects to continue to focus on swimming the backstroke for the Redhawks and may even swim a little in the 200 freestyle.

"I know they're going to have some different techniques that they're going to want me to swim with, but I also know I've got a pretty good base going in," Bock said. "I'm really excited to get started."

Bock said she plans to major in Sports and Exercise at Seattle in the hopes she can get into physical therapy as a career.

"I'm interesting the body and how it works and how you can help it work with sports physical therapy," Bock said. "I've seen a lot of friends go through it, and it is amazing how physical therapy has changed their life. (Former Squalicum swimmer) Camorah King had a shoulder injury, and it was cool to see all the exercises she did to build it back up and how that helped her become an even better swimmer."

But for now, Bock said she is just happy to have the recruiting process behind her and four seasons of swimming for the Redhawks ahead of her.

"It was definitely a stressful process," she said. "I'm glad I got a chance to swim Division I and that it is so close to home. ... I'm not sure I ever had a moment I decided I wanted to swim D-I. I guess I just always kind of expected I would. It was what I really wanted to do."

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2286.


A look at the Whatcom County student athletes who either have signed National Letters of Intent or are planning to be student athletes in college:

Student athlete High school Sport College

Rachel Albert Sehome Basketball Western Washington

Natalie Anderson Sehome Cross Country/Track Lewis & Clark College

Elsa Balton Sehome Sailing Western Washington University

Bo Banner Sehome Football Central Washington

Kelli Bannerman Ferndale Soccer Saint Martin's

Emma Bennett Ferndale Track and Field Whitworth University

Grace Bills Ferndale Volleyball Whatcom Community College

Carlee Bock Squalicum Swimming Seattle University

Isaac Bogart Lynden Soccer University of Redlands (Calif.)

Ashley Bolick Blaine Softball Lewis and Clark College

Brooke Bonsen Lynden Softball Bellevue College

Tom Bradley Blaine Cross Country/Track San Francisco

Brooke Branigan Bellingham Golf Western Washington

Jeremy Brockmann Meridian Baseball Centralia College

Casey Bromet Meridian Soccer Corban University

Mariah Brown Lynden Basketball Whatcom Community College

Aaron Burke Bellingham Baseball Oregon Tech

Rowan Chappell Bellingham Cross Country Evergreen State

Joe Charbonneau Bellingham Cross Country/Track Seattle University

Alex Check Bellingham Baseball Bellevue College

Luke Christianson Lynden Baseball Lower Columbia College

Lisa Collander Sehome Sailing Lewis and Clark College

Alex Conley Ferndale Football Whitworth College

Noah Cyr-Moore Sehome Basketball Westmont College

Bret DeGraaff Lynden Football Whitworth University

Josh DeVenere Ferndale Cross Country Skagit Valley College

Andrea DeVere Squalicum Soccer Biola University

Nathan Dunford Mount Baker Track and field Trinity Western

Cambie Edwards WCC Basketball Southern Oregon

Gus Evans Squalicum Swimming Denison University

James Fakkema Blaine Football Central Washington

Marcus Fakkema Lynden Lacrosse University of Great Falls

Gina Flint Squalicum Track Washington

Brittany Gappa Squalicum Cross Country/Track Boston University

Patrick Gibson Squalicum Cross Country/Track Stanford

Mario Gobbato Blaine Football Montana State Northern

Daniel Goebel Sehome Baseball Westmont College

Sydney Gray Meridian Cross Country/Track Pepperdine

Patrick Gregory Sehome Swimming Cal Lutheran

Tanya Haggen Sehome/WCC Soccer Redlands University

Alexa Harrington Squalicum Tennis Upper Iowa University

Lindsay Hodgson Sehome Cross Country Whitman College

Maddi Hommes Lynden Volleyball Bellevue College

Bella Hoyos Bellingham Tennis Whitworth College

McKenzie Impero Nooksack Valley Volleyball Whatcom Community College

Kahokuloa Kauhi Sehome Volleyball Everett Community College

Devon Kollmyer Lynden Soccer Simon Fraser

Tyler Knutsen Sehome Baseball Hawaii-Hilo

Josh Kraght Lynden Football Portland State

Bridget Kruck Lynden Christian Softball Mesa (Ariz.) Community College

Charlie Linneman Sehome Basketball Carleton (Minn.) College

Erika Locker Ferndale/WCC Basketball Central Washington

Brice Longanecker Sehome Baseball Yakima Valley

Forrest Longanecker Sehome Baseball Yakima Valley

Hannah Mankle Sehome Soccer Whatcom Community College

Jake Manson Sehome Baseball Yakima Valley

Max McGuinn Meridian Football University of Puget Sound

Meagan McIntyre Sehome Cross country/softball Scripps College

Relijah McMillan Meridian Track Skagit Valley College

Nathan Meppelink Lynden Christian Basketball Biola University

Matt Meyer Lynden Football Washington State

Larkyn Nelson Bellingham Soccer Peninsula College

Caleb Newman Lynden Football Army

Daniel Nielsen WCC Basketball San Diego Christian

Tanner Olson Lynden Baseball Lower Columbia College

Audrey Orem Bellingham Golf Western Washington

Bree Park Meridian/WCC Basketball Southern Oregon

Zoe Peterson Squalicum Track and field Carleton College

Dillon Quintana Mount Baker Cross country/Track Gonzaga

Austin Rapp Sehome Football Washington State

Abbi Rautenberg Meridian Golf Lewis and Clark College

Kyler Reed Squalicum Track and field Skagit Valley College

Matt Richard Bellingham Baseball Linfield College

Chad Richter Meridian Baseball Centralia College

Palmer Sandel Blaine Football Western Oregon

Auden Schilder Bellingham Soccer Washington

Jake Schmidt Meridian Track Skagit Valley

Dak Shagren Lynden Basketball Northwest University

Rachel Short-Miller Bellingham Soccer Hesston (Kan.) College

Nick Smith Sehome Tennis Pacific Lutheran

Austyn Sprague Ferndale Baseball Everett Community College

Melissa Stadt Nooksack Valley Basketball Skagit Valley College

Zach Stalin Mount Baker/WCC Basketball Masters College

Nicole Statham Blaine Soccer Hawaii-Hilo

Michael Steele Ferndale Soccer Oregon State

Brooke Steinberg Bellingham/WCC Soccer Western Oregon

Lindy Swanson Nooksack Valley Basketball Whatcom Community College

Amanda Tapia Lynden/WCC Basketball Vancouver Island University

Hanna Tarleton Sehome Track and field Claremont McKenna College

Jack Thompson Sehome Sailing Western Washington University

Jade Thurston Bellingham Soccer Whatcom Community College

Kayla Tiemersma Lynden Christian Basketball Whatcom Community College

Truman Van Dalen Lynden Christian Basketball Skagit Valley College

Thomas Vazorka Bellingham Football Idaho State

Cody Velthuizen Lynden Chistian Cross country/Track Trinity Christian

Zach Vis Lynden Football Montana

Emily Visser Lynden Christian Cross country/Track Dordt College

Ryan Wallen Blaine Golf Wyoming

Sydney Wasilewski Meridian Volleyball Walla Walla Community College

Alex Wilkinson Sehome Volleyball Whatcom Community College

Corrie Wilson Ferndale Softball Saint Martin's

NOTE: To report a Whatcom County student athlete that is planning to continue their playing career in college, please email david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2286.

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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