Erin DeVinney ’12 (NUR) is a student-athlete who exemplifies Husky pride, both individually and as part of a team.
A Big East Academic All-Star with a 3.3 GPA, she is captain of the women’s swimming team. She also leads weekly learning groups – six-hour study halls that are required for freshman members of the swimming and diving teams.
Her team enjoyed a winning season last year (7-2) – with the College Swimming Coaches Association of America honoring the Husky men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams as Scholar All-American Teams for maintaining an overall team GPA of 3.0. “Winning helps,” DeVinney says, “but more important is being part of the swim team family.”
When DeVinney was being recruited by head coach Bob Goldberg, he told her she would have 27 friends on the swim team.
“It really was like that,” DeVinney says. “In fact, I was just invited to a former teammate’s wedding who graduated a couple of years ago. The swim teams are like one big family.”
Swimming and Huskymania are part of DeVinney’s own family as well. Her older sister, Katie DeVinney ’09 (ED), ’10 MA, graduated with an Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s degree from the Neag School of Education and also was on the swim team.
“Katie swam for four years and during her fifth year, which was my sophomore year, she was an assistant coach,” DeVinney says. “I will be here for a fifth year, too, so hopefully I’ll coach as well.”
Offering encouragement as team captain and perhaps assistant coach is valuable preparation for DeVinney’s goal of becoming a nurse. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a high school freshman, DeVinney says, “Ever since I’ve had diabetes I’ve wanted to be a nurse. I like being in the hospital setting. I’d like to see if there’s a way to help other people like me, who have juvenile diabetes.”
An Arizona native who hopes to launch her nursing career in her home state’s Mayo Clinic, DeVinney came to Storrs on a recruiting trip for the swim team. “I fell in love with UConn’s swim program and was really impressed by UConn’s School of Nursing,” she says.
As a nursing major and student-athlete, DeVinney manages a grueling schedule. In addition to carrying five classes each semester, weekly swim meets last three to four hours – plus travel time – and she practices 20 hours a week during swim season.
Not that life is all work. “UConn is a great University – there are always exciting games to go to, and I’ve met tons of people,” DeVinney says, adding that being a nursing major is one of the best aspects of being a Husky. “I learn something new every day.”
“With her training and hard work, Erin has overcome some difficulties with diabetes because it affects everything she does,” says Goldberg. “She’s taking a really tough major and opted to go five years so she can give her all to both school and swimming. She’s an unsung hero. She is what intercollegiate athletics is supposed to be all about.”