Wingate Captains Looking Forward to New Season

Wingate, N.C.----Wingate University head men's and women's swimming coach Kirk Sanocki announces his 2017-18 team captains, as elected by their teammates. Graduate student Alex Divelbiss (Pueblo, Colo.) and junior Maria Madsen (Dragoer, Denmark) will serve for the Wingate women, while seniors Sebastian Holmberg (Njutanger, Sweden) and Tripp Wright (Cypress, Texas) will serve for the Bulldog men.  
"These four student-athletes represent athletic leadership qualities which are vital to the success of our swimming program," Wingate University head men's and women's swimming coach Kirk Sanocki says. "They believe strongly in the university mission of faith, knowledge and service."
The Wingate University swimming teams began the fall portion of their practice schedule on Friday, Sept. 1. The Bulldogs open the 2017-18 season on Oct. 13-14, venturing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the Nova Southeastern University Shark Invitational. The Wingate athletic media relations office caught up with the four student-athletes to get their thoughts on this new adventure (an interview transcript follows).
Alex Divelbiss
Wingate Swimming has had such an amazing tradition of excellence, leadership and team unity.  This season is going to be my third and final year competing with Wingate…being named team captain of such a hard-working and dedicated team makes my soon to be position, well, easy. I would love to say that as a captain I will be able to guide and mentor my team, but really, being a captain of this women's team means I'll get to continue to work and grow together with my teammates.
Being selected alongside Maria Madsen means we will be the forerunners of cheering, inspiring and encouragement, knowing that our teammates are right there cheering and inspiring us as well. It's one thing to be part of an amazing group of women, it's another to be chosen to lead them. I hope this coming season, I can prove to be worthy of such a title as captain of the women's Team of the Year.
Maria Madsen
The 2016-17 season was the most amazing season in my swimming career. Our women's team had great results, but that is not the reason why it was so fantastic. It was amazing because we came together as a true family. Being from Denmark, this means so much to me! I cannot wait to motivate and help these strong women on their road to success as a team captain this year. It is an incredible honor and it will be a journey to see what we can accomplish together! WU what? WU SWIM!
Sebastian Holmberg
It is an honor being named team captain of such an amazing and hardworking team. This past season (2016-17) was very good for us…and we are very excited for what the upcoming season has to offer. The previous captains have left a great legacy, one which we plan to continue. Moving forward we have many goals and aspirations and I believe this team is fully capable. 
Tripp Wright
Over the past three years, I've learned a lot swimming for Wingate…and have grown so close to these guys, they are like brothers to me. There have been many swimmers who have taken me under their wing and served as great leaders to us all. Now I'm in a position where I can do the same for others and it's such an honor. I'm so proud to say that I am a part of the Wingate University men's swimming team…and I look forward to the upcoming year.
Last season, the Wingate women finished third at the 2017 NCAA national meet. The 2017 meet marked the third consecutive year the Bulldogs have brought home team hardware (WU was third in 2015 and second in 2016). On the men's side, the Bulldogs jumped 10 places on the team leader board from their 2016 appearance, scoring 198 points to finish sixth at NCAAs.
Wingate won the national championship in the women's 800 Freestyle Relay at the 2017 NCAA meet. In addition to Divelbiss and Madsen, team members included junior Hanna Van Horen (Hofstade, Belgium) and sophomore Abby Kosic (West Chester, Pa.). Divelbiss was the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet as the Bulldogs took second place in the league meet. The Wingate men were also second in the 2017 BMC event.
In June, Wingate was the only NCAA Division II school with three swimming student-athletes on the 2017 Academic All-America® at-large teams (as selected by CoSIDA). On the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) team charts, the Wingate women posted a 3.49 GPA. The Bulldog men had a 3.36 GPA. Both WU swimming teams were recognized as Scholar All-America teams by the CSCAA.
WINGATE UNIVERSITY                                                                                    
Wingate University, consistently ranked as a top 10 "best value" in the South by U.S. News & World Report, serves more than 3,400 students on three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors, 35 minors, 12 career concentrations, nine pre-professional programs, master's degrees in accounting, business, education, physician assistant studies and sport management and doctorates in education, pharmacy and physical therapy.
With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life. To view current news, video and story ideas, visit
In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 22 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past 11 years. For more information, go to
Wingate is first among NCAA Division II Academic All-America®-producing colleges in the 2000's with 96 selections. Among North Carolina's colleges and universities, Wingate is number one in this millennium with 96 Academic All-America® honorees. Wingate is tops among all SAC schools with 105 lifetime Academic All-America® picks. For more information on WU athletics, go to