Written by: Gracie Murray (women's basketball)
Birmingham, Ala.- Erica Dekle (Mobile, Ala./ McGill-Toolen Catholic High School) just swam her last regular season race as a Panther for the Birmingham-Southern College women's swim team. Dekle is finishing her degree in psychology before she graduates this spring.
In discussion of her plans after graduation she said, "I am going to take two classes this summer and then taking a gap year. I want to go to PT school, but I am a little behind on science credits with my major in psych. I have a job lined up at a PT clinic as a PT tech that starts in September. So I will work in the clinic and apply for school."
Dekle will finish out these classes at The University of South Alabama so she can stay home in Mobile, Ala.
She comes from a large close-knit family, having two younger sisters and one younger brother. They have supported her decision to swim in college by coming to almost every one of her home swim meets. "They are a huge reason why I kept swimming through the years," said Dekle.
"My Dad is like the king of life chats," she explained. "I can remember in high school, because it was a really big struggle for me to choose whether or not I wanted to swim in college. I just remember sitting through so many life chats with him. Looking back, I am so thankful for those moments."
Dekle's father has been an inspiration for her career, being that he has his own physical therapy business called Center for Balance and Rehab in Mobile. "When I first came to BSC I knew I wanted to do something in health care, but I didn't want to do the same thing as my dad," said Dekle.
"Last Exploration Term I shadowed a PA and saw the different fields of a physician's assistant and knew it was not the path for me," she added. "So then I decided I should shadow my father so I could see what it was like. I ended up loving it and wanted to do it. This gives me a way to stay around athletics."
It makes sense that Dekle wants to stay around athletics given that she has been swimming since she was five years old. When Dekle was in the process of choosing a college institution, she was unclear if she wanted to continue her career in the water. It was not until December at the state meet of her senior year, when her team won the state title for the first time in school history, that she made her decision to not quit swimming. "I am so glad that I decided to keep swimming because I love it here and have had an awesome four years," she said.
During her freshman year, she was instrumental in helping the Panthers win the Southern Athletic Association Championship, the first in school history. She was named SAA Newcomer of the Year for her performance and is a three-time all-conference selection. Dekle has finished top three in the 100 and 200 backstroke and top five in the 200 IM at the conference championships.
She has not only been active in the pool during her time at BSC, but also around campus. Dekle is a member of the Chi-Omega Sorority, as well as, a member on the residence life staff, the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Apha Pi), Relay for Life, the president's service team, and RUF, a religious group on campus. Dekle has also been on the SAA's academic honor roll and BSC's Dean's List.
Biggest pet peeve?
Opening your mouth when you chew.
If you could vacation anywhere, where would you go?
Go on a cruise to the Bahamas or the Caribbean.
Cat or dog person?
Favorite sports team?
Favorite TV show?
What could you binge watch on Netflix?
Who would you drop everything for to see in concert?
Favorite room in your house?
Upstairs room, it's just like a living room.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Europe, all over.
What is the last book you read?
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink.