Sisters High School senior Lydia Bartlett has signed a letter of intent to swim for the NCAA Division 1 California Baptist Lancers.

California Baptist University, located in Riverside, has an undergraduate population of about 7,000 students.

Bartlett has had an accomplished career through three seasons of swimming for the Outlaws and is considered one of the top 4A/3A/2A/1A swimmers returning for the 2019-20 high school season.

Bartlett placed second in last year’s OSAA State Championships in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle as an individual. In addition she also competed on two relays.

Cal Baptist moved to the Division I ranks for athletics in just the past two years after many years in the NAIA and six seasons at the NCAA Division II level. The swimming and diving team competes in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) where the women’s team took fourth at last year’s conference meet, its first season in the WAC.

The Lancers’ head coach, Rick Rowland, who has coached at Cal Baptist since the 1999-2000 season, was named the College Swimming Coaches Association of America National Invitational Championship Men’s Coach of the Year in 2018-19.

Bartlett said, “I am very excited about my decision to swim for Cal Baptist. I think that I will be able to grow in so many ways there. It feels really good to have my decision all set for next year.”

Cal Baptist is familiar to the Bartlett family, as Lydia’s older sister Anna is a sophomore there.

Lydia said, “When I visited I really fell in love with the campus, the team, and everything about the school. I was looking for a Christian school and I love how the team and school have focus on their faith in everything they do.”

Bryn Singleton, head swim coach at Sisters High School, is overjoyed at Lydia’s decision to keep swimming in college and believes Cal Baptist is a good fit.

“I am so excited for Lydia!,” she said. “She is a very well-rounded swimmer, competing primarily in breaststroke and freestyle in high school and holds school records in both the shortest (50 yards) and longest (500 yards) distances.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to coach Lydia in high school, but watching her swim is only a small part of that,” she continued. “Lydia is so much more than an awesome athlete. She is kind, funny, and hard-working. I feel lucky to have gotten to watch her grow up.”

In regards to competing in college, Singleton said, “I have no doubt that she will continue pursuing her passion for swimming and it will be great to see her experiencing competition at the next level.”

Bartlett views it similarly: “Ever since I began swimming competitively in seventh grade I have wanted to swim at a college level. I am really looking forward to swimming for CBU at the Division I level and know it will be a new challenge for me in my life.”

Singleton is not finished with Bartlett quite yet, as the season is just getting underway. “I hope that Lydia’s last year of high school swimming is both fun and rewarding for her. She’ll be a contender again at state this February for sure.”

Rick Rowland, the swimming coach at Cal Baptist said, “Lydia is (a) perfect fit for our university and swim program. Lydia is an outstanding student and athlete. She is the type of student athlete that we look for, with strong academics as an honor-roll student and a versatile freestyler that can swim a number of events for us at the collegiate level. She will strengthen and add depth to our team in her freestyle events.”