July 5, 2012
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - La Salle senior swimmer Blase Szyszko has been selected by the NCAA as the Atlantic 10 Conference's representative on the Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) the league announced Thursday.
Szyszko's two-year appointment began on July 1 and he will have the option to serve the full two years of the term if he chooses despite entering his senior season this year. Student-athletes may serve on the committee up to one year after their intercollegiate athletics eligibility is exhausted. Szyszko succeeds Tristany Leikem (Rhode Island, Women's Tennis), who represented the A-10 on the Division I SAAC during the 2011-12 academic year. A hard-worker who was a tremendous asset to the national committee, Leikem will begin law school this fall and resigned the position in order to allow for a currently enrolled student-athlete to represent the league and receive the experience.
An integrated Science, Business and technology major, Szyszko swims freestyle and breaststroke events for the Explorers. He won a gold medal in the 200-backstroke (201.55) at the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championships and wais a member of the school record-breaking 200 medley relay which took silver at the 2011 A-10 Championships, clocking in at 1:30.51 He also finished fifth in the 200-breast (2:04.53) and posted a 1:57.63 in the 200 IM at the league championship. Szyszko was a 2012 U.S. Olympic Trial Qualifier, allowing him the opportunity to compete in the US trials in Omaha, Neb., earlier this week.
In his statement of interest submitted to the NCAA, Szyszko said, "I have a love for bringing people together to achieve success. The experience of being a part of the Division I SAAC would be a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would greatly enjoy being a part of and contributing to."
Szyszko has been a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference SAAC since the spring of 2011 and attended the 2011 A-10 SAAC meeting in Philadelphia. He has been a member of La Salle's campus SAAC organization since 2009. He currently serves as the group's president and has previously served as the Secretary (2010-11 academic year). He also has been incredibly active in the La Salle community, founding Explore-A-Cure, a cancer research drive and participating in the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
The Division I SAAC consists of one student-athlete from each of the 31 Division I conferences and reports directly to the Leadership Council. The mission of the DI SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well-being, and fostering a positive student-athlete image.
Service on the DI SAAC involves attending three in-person meetings a year (July, November and January), as well as participating on a number of conference calls throughout the year. The January meeting is held in conjunction with the NCAA National Convention, giving the SAAC an opportunity to interact directly with college athletics leaders.