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Morgan Burchhardt

Explore CDSWOY All-Time Roster Members

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Colleen Quaglia

2022 Grand Collegiate Woman of the Year
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Written by Adam Shinder, The Daily Gazette

In and out of the pool, versatility has always meant a great deal to Colleen Quaglia.

The lessons she learned as a star swimmer at The College of Saint Rose, where she spent her collegiate career rewriting the Golden Knights’ record book, have been valuable in every other aspect of her life.

“My coaches always said that, if you’re going to be a breaststroker you have to be able to match up. So that’s the same thing in life,” said Quaglia, who is one of three college honorees for the third-annual Capital District Sports Women of the Year awards. “If you’re going to be good at one thing, you have to try and excel at the other thing, too. If you’re not great at something, you just have to always power through it, push through and try to excel in everything that you do.”

Quaglia departed Saint Rose as one of the most decorated swimmers in program history. Over the course of her career, she set 11 program records — eight individual records, and three as part of relays — twice qualified for the NCAA Division II women’s swimming and diving championships, and earned All-American status on three occasions.

She did so while swimming a diverse program of events, and while pairing that with high academic achievement and serious commitment to her community.

Throughout her entire time at Saint Rose, as both an undergrad and graduate student, Quaglia maintained a spotless 4.0 grade point average. That twice earned her academic All-America honors from both the College Sports Information Directors of America and the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. She was a three-time Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference selection, a two-time winner of the NE10 Elite 24 award as the top scholar-athlete at the conference championship meet, and made the NE10 Academic Honor Roll every semester.

This past year, she was both the NE10 Sports Excellence Award winner as the conference’s top scholar-athlete in her sport, and the recipient of the Saint Rose Athletics Department Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

“I’ve never come across a student-athlete as dedicated as Colleen before now,” Saint Rose women’s swimming and diving coach Kevin Walsh said. “Colleen is a remarkable student-athlete and has proven through her actions what is possible when you put your mind to it.”

Quaglia’s 2021-22 season in the pool was exemplary. Six times this past season, she was named the NE10 women’s swimmer of the week, en route to posting the conference’s fastest times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, 50-yard backstroke, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley. At the conference championship meet, she took first in the 500 free, 400 IM and 200 butterfly.

Quaglia finished her career with her name prominently listed on Saint Rose’s record board.

“There’s a lot of names up there that I love to have my name next to,” she said. “There’s so many alumni that I get to have my name next to. It’s just really an awesome feeling to be able to be on the record board at Saint Rose, and especially in so many different events that are versatile. I think it just shows that I did work hard throughout my college career.”

Setting those records across multiple strokes and disciplines was a point of great pride for Quaglia.
“To do distance freestyle, and then do the sprint strokes, then all the long-distance individual medley strokes — it’s about being able to balance it all,” she said. “I think it makes you a more unique swimmer.”
Quaglia was often at her best at the biggest meets.
“She always rose to the occasion,” Walsh said, “and proved to be a great leader on our team as well.”

Beyond her athletic and academic accomplishments, Quaglia also took part in a number of community service efforts. Among her activities, she raised money and cleaned cancer patients’ homes with Cleaning for a Cause, and helped provide more than 5,000 pounds of pasta for shelters around the Capital Region through the Saint Rose Business Professionals & Sales Organization’s pasta drive.

“What impresses me the most about Colleen, outside of her academic and athletic achievements, is her passion and commitment to always be her best,” Saint Rose athletic director Lori Anctil said. “She is a leader by example with an intense passion and desire to achieve success while inspiring others.”

Quaglia credited her organization and time-management skills for allowing her to successfully combine her athletic, academic and community service work.

“The time-management that swimming provided me was really valuable,” Quaglia said. “That totally helped me with my academics. Academic-wise, I was able to have really great relationships with all my professors. They really helped me through everything, and I was able to go to them if I had questions or concerns about something in the class.”

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