Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Swimmer Emma Keegan
By Jerry Durney, Florida Tech News Bureau // April 30, 2023
Keegan is majoring in Meteorology
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we are featuring Panther women’s swimmer Emma Keegan, a sophomore who is majoring in Meteorology.
Having arrived at Tech across the state from her hometown Sarasota, Emma’s top performances this past season saw her post a 1:08.57 in the 100 Breast at November’s Panther Invite which was good for sixth place as well as a 2:34.77 in the 200 Breast vs. Lynn in October that earned her fourth place.
Following her freshman season in 2021-22, Emma was named to the State Conference Commissioner’s and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
With Emma’s second season year at Florida Tech about to conclude, we chatted with Emma about what she enjoyed the most about this past season, how real life became a part of her classes, and her plans in the world of weather.
What’s your major at Florida Tech and why did you choose this? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do?
I am a meteorology major, and I’ve wanted to do meteorology for the longest time ever since I was a kid. One of the first things I ever looked up on the computer was weather maps, hurricane tracks, and all that good fun stuff and it carried with me throughout my teenage years and now my adult years and it was something that I’ve always been passionate about.
I love rain, I love storms, I love hurricanes, and tornadoes, I love it all.
What was it about Florida Tech that made you want to be here?
I think it was the combination of everything. I had the meteorology degree that was offered to me. I had the varsity swimming aspect that was offered to me, I’ve been a swimmer for 11 years, so I wanted to make sure I was doing that for my college career, I wanted to carry that with me.
Overall, the location was great because I just moved to Florida so it’s not too far away from my parents so they can always come visit whenever they want to see me.
How do you plan to use your degree after graduation?
Originally, I wanted to work with NOAA or SpaceX, somewhere in the research department, but I’m leaning more towards going into the broadcasting field, I’d love to work on TV. I’d love to be on the forecast with ABC or AccuWeather, pretty much any of them at this point would be great.
Have you had the chance to visit the National Weather Service office in Melbourne?
I have not but it’s been a dream of mine to go there one day and I’m hoping that sometime in the future, whether I’m here or I just come to visit from home, that I’ll get to see the National Weather Service in person.
What are some of the exciting projects that you’ve been able to work on in classes here?
One of my favorite projects was in a course I took a few semesters back with Dr. [Michael] Splitt in Aviation Meteorology, we got to do a whole project about clouds.
We got to take pictures of clouds, we got to identify them, and we really got into the nitty gritty. We got the classifications down, the species of cloud down, and how high up they were elevated.
We looked at METARs, which are little coatings for pilots to let them know if it’s okay to land if the weather is permissible. Pretty much the general basics for pilots and such.
It was really great to see myself doing that kind of stuff, I didn’t think I’d start out doing little things like clouds, but now I’m falling more and more in love with my primary every day.
Classes can often involve current events in discussions and weather is no different. How much of a topic was Hurricanes Ian and Nicole this year?
It came up a lot during my studies. Even during my general courses, they would always ask if there were any meteorology majors in the room that could explain what was going on.
It was hard for me because my hometown is right on the west coast of Florida. So, we got directly impacted by Ian and I was in constant communication with my family, trying to make sure they were okay luckily they all were but it was really important for me to stay on top of the weather for the safety of my family and the safety of my roommates and all that so it was really interesting to see and to survive through weather history. It’s exciting, but it’s also terrifying, you know?
Swimming season usually spans nearly five months with plenty of road trips and practices in between, how do you keep everything balanced once the season starts?
I generally like to keep track of my schedule with my sleep. I am very religious with my sleep, I always make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep per night because it will carry me throughout my day.
It will help me be a better person throughout my day, better in my studies, better in the pool, better when I’m doing homework, better when I’m getting my nutrition in or better even when I’m relaxing and not doing anything rigorous. It’s something that I keep with me throughout the day.
Also, making sure to keep on top of schoolwork is very important. I always try to finish assignments earlier if I can, if I have that free time.
I’ll be working to try and finish that work, so I’m not worrying about it later down the line, when I’m really tired throughout the week, through practices.
How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from the pool that you apply to your studies?
I think that swimming instilled a kind of go-with-the-flow mentality in me. You can’t fight with water, you have to go with water, you have to be with water and you have to glide with it, you have to work around it. If you’re an artist, it’s your canvas, you have to work with it the best you can in order to push you to that goal. So I think that’s what’s carried me throughout life.
I can’t stay stuck on one thing, I have to go with the flow,I have to allow myself to enjoy the good things in life and endure some bad stuff as well but it’s all a part of life’s journey.
I think that’s what’s going to carry me throughout my future and when I get older as an adult obviously. That mentality of being in a state of going with the flow and allowing things to happen that are meant to happen this way.
What advice would you give to an athlete coming to Florida Tech that has an interest in Meteorology?
I would say three things. Number one, make sure you’re getting your sleep. Number two, please keep on top of your coursework, and finish it two weeks early, even if you have to, it will be worth it, I promise.
Three I would say have fun, you’ve got to live in the moment, you’ve got to enjoy your time with your teammates, and enjoy your time with your coaches. Enjoy your time outside of sports, go to social events, go hang out with friends. This is the time when you can do whatever you want to do.
What was your favorite memory of this past season?
My favorite memory was definitely at Sunshine State Conference Championships when our women’s relay got the NCAA [Championship qualifier] cut.
That was one of the most exciting races of all time. I was on the side with the coaches doing some splits and I just remember we were all erupting, jumping, and screaming.
I was crying, even though I wasn’t a part of that relay, those are pretty much like my sisters. We’re all one big family and to see that success carry through the team, made me tear up and feel prideful, that I was a part of that moment and to be there in person to see that.
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