Grady Sports class covers NCAA swimming and diving championships

Thirty-six students in Introduction to Sports Reporting and Writing spent two weekends in March covering the NCAA swimming and diving championships at Georgia Tech's McAuley Aquatic Center as fully credentialed members of the press.



“This event aligned very well with the kind of real-world experience we give our students in the Sports Media Certificate program,” said Vicki Michaelis, John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and director of Grady Sports at Grady College. “ It was fast-paced, with a lot of moving parts and a big-event atmosphere.”

Under the direction of Michaelis and Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports writer D. Orlando Ledbetter, who co-teaches the class, the students worked in teams to produce advance stories, live social media coverage (at #NCAASwim16), Storify live blogs and deadline stories for the AJC, Athens Banner-Herald and Austin American-Statesman.

“It required them to learn about a sport that, for most of them, is outside their comfort zone,” Michaelis said. “And, especially with the UGA women winning their seventh national title, it was a story that local media outlets wanted to cover even if they didn’t have the resources. That gave our students invaluable additions to their portfolios.”

Grady Sports student Brianna Patton covers the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships from the press box at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center. Photo courtesy of Vicki Michaelis.

Brianna Patton, a sport management sophomore who is also pursing a Sports Media Certificate, said she learned a lot from her experience with live-blogging.

“It was challenging keeping up with the pace of the meet along with self-editing,” Patton

said. “We were seated extremely high and the Wi-Fi was lagging, which provided multiple challenges along the way. However, it gave a good insight into the grind of working on deadline in the sports industry.”

The speedy pace was the part of the assignment that Wilson Alexander said he enjoyed the most.

“My favorite part of the experience was how fast everything moved, and I don't just mean the swimmers,” said Alexander, a sophomore journalism major and Grady Sports student. “I was given the opportunity to write for the AJC, and trying to write a good story on deadline…was crazy but incredibly rewarding.”

For the full list of stories written by Grady Sports students about the event, go to

Date: April 1, 2016
Author:  Stephanie Moreno,
Contact:  Vicki Michaelis,