As Erika Erndl prepares for motherhood, she looks back on her time at Episcopal Academy and the busy life she led. “When I was at Episcopal, I had to juggle academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities,” says Erndl, who graduated in 1996. “If I go back into swimming, and do lessons and coach, it will be really important to be balanced and continue to do several things.
I don’t just want to be a mom. That’s important, but having something else is important.”
If Erndl just was known only for her swimming résumé, that would be impressive enough. She was a six-time prep all-America at EA. She still holds six University of North Carolina long-course records, and she competed in four Olympic Trials.
Though she’s now 36, Erndl remains on the U.S. national team and doesn’t consider herself ready for events any time soon. That’s quite a set of accomplishments for someone who began swimming at age 4 simply because her big sisters were in the pool. “I was thrown in and had to figure it out,” she says.
Erndl is based in Naples, Fla., where she works with her husband, Kevin, another former UNC swimmer, at T2 Aquatics and the affiliated Swim School, helping elite athletes perform at their peaks. She taught elementary school for a few years but is now completely immersed in the swimming world. Though she doesn’t plan to compete after her first child is born in October, she doesn’t rule it out.
She credits EA for teaching her how to handle so many things at once. “Episcopal was such a well-rounded place,” she says.