FGCU senior making waves in her sport and the classroom

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

With every stroke and every flip turn, Emma Hixenbaugh makes waves for FGCU. The senior excels in both the pool and in the classroom as well, studying bioengineering.

“It was definitely really difficult,” Hixenbaugh said. “I had to have support from both my coaches as well as my teachers.”

Eagles head swim and dive coach Dave Rollins is one of those supporters.

“We’ve known since day one that she’s a first class human being, but her work ethic in what she brings to the pool and in the classroom is second to none for sure,” Rollins said.

That work ethic is what’s earned her a spot in the FGCU Hall of Fame.

Meaning, she’s one of the top ten student leaders on campus, student athlete or not.

“It was really shocking,” Hixenbaugh said. “I’m really honored to have been selected. I was like, ‘Well surely I won’t get that, like that’s such an honor and a high privilege to be selected.'”

This year she’s the only student representing the college of engineering in the hall of fame and the third swimmer to ever be inducted.

Being a student athlete is hard enough, let alone setting records in the pool and maintaining a 3.9 GPA as an engineering major, but Emma comes from a family of student athletes and giving everything your all is always the standard in the Hixenbaugh house.

“My parents instilled in me a desire to do my best with whatever I’m doing,” Hixenbaugh said. “So if I’m given the opportunity to come here and be an athlete and a student and just really try my best in everything I do it will present me with good opportunities in the future.”

Emma is not only up for the challenge, she’s grateful for it as well.

“I think it definitely provides a nice balance to your life, not only just pursuing academics, but also having that balance of being active and being a part of a team and teaching you some of the skills that maybe you wouldn’t learn if you were just like in a classroom every day,” Hixenbaugh said.

Coach Rollins told me that work ethic doesn’t just benefit her, but everyone around her.

“Her teammates see that and she’s very encouraging,” Rollins said. “She’s very positive, very supportive of everybody and she wants to see everybody be successful not just herself.”

She plans to keep swimming and pursue a masters in bioengineering after graduation from FGCU.

Her drive and desire to keep going doesn’t surprise Coach Rollins.

“Wherever she ends up in this world, she’s going to find ways to challenge herself and help those around her continue to get better,” Rollins said. “That’s what she’s been doing for the last four years and I have no doubt that she will keep it up for the next 40 years.”

Whenever it’s time to put her own swim cap aside, Hixenbaugh hopes to work in sports biomechanics to make a difference in the lives of student athletes to come.

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