Student athletes rarely excel at a higher level in college than they do in middle and high school. Experience counts. In fact, the NCAA reports that more than one-third of college athletes fold under the pressure and either quit or are asked to leave their program.

For 2016 ETHS grad Honore Collins, however, that very same pressure has produced diamonds.

“I was not serious about swimming in high school, and in my junior year I tore my labrum and had to get surgery on it, so I wasn’t as fast as I could have been. It never seemed like anyone expected much from me, and I really just liked to blow away people’s expectations,” said Ms. Collins, describing a career that included two all-State recognitions.

“When I look back and think about [my high school career], I am just so proud of myself for not quitting,” she said. “I would get to the pool at 5:45 a.m. and have a really hard workout. Then I’d go straight from the pool to a full day of AP classes that would require me to stay focused and awake. I would then have another practice after school, and not get to leave until 5:45 p.m. most days.”

Despite missing her senior swim season due to her torn labrum, Ms. Collins was heavily recruited by many top Division 1 and Division 3 college programs. When it came time to make her decision, however, she focused on academics, not athletics.

“ETHS influenced my decision after I had already ruled out my [Division 1] options due to the lack of balance they provided,” she said. “But then I visited [New York University], and I knew I wanted to go there. NYU swimming was an underdog team,…Because I grew up as the underdog, I wanted to keep doing that, keep surprising people because I wasn’t going to one of the big Division 3 swimming schools, and I wasn’t faster than everyone going in.”

In Ms. Collins’ opinion, NYU was similar to ETHS: academically focused yet diverse, and in her words, had the “spunk” to make it feel like home.

It was not long after she arrived in New York that she started getting results. During her freshman season, Ms. Collins became NYU’s first-ever National Champion, breaking the school record for the 200 individual medley with a time of 2.00.97.

After garnering All-American Honors by taking third in the IM as a sophomore, she managed

To take home national titles in the 400 IM and 200 fly, breaking the Division 3 record in the latter. At the end of her historic run, she was crowned the nation’s outstanding swimmer in all of Division 3, carving a place for herself in the record books as one of the best swimmers in NYU’s history.

With one season left to go, Ms. Collins knows there is not much she can do better. Still, she jhas big goals. “I want to win three events like last year, but I also want to set two more NCAA Division 3 records. My real goal for the season is to do better as a team. I think this year we have the chance to get top 4 for the first time in program history and bring home a trophy.”

As for her post-college future, she plans to stay in New York and focus on a career in wealth management rather than sports. “l won’t continue to swim after this year ends. It was very fun and rewarding while it lasted but I think it’s time that I stopped. If I make Olympic trials this year (fingers crossed) I will swim until June.”

Even though she is looking forward to ending her competitive swimming career in the next calendar year, she recognizes that she wouldn’t be where she is today without it. “Swimming has always been a part of my life, and has always been something that I love; even when I hated every practice,” she said. “It’s always been there for me.”