Senior Bella Ekk officially signed to Auburn University on Jan. 19, 2024, where she will compete on their swim team at the division one level. Ekk has been swimming since the age of four, where it has always been her dream to compete at the collegiate level. 

As soon as she learned how to walk, she was in the pool. Ekk first enrolled in swim classes for fun and competed for her club, Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club (ATAC). She showed talent early on, and began to take the sport more seriously as she got older. 

Ekk would train early mornings and late afternoons, while trying to actively balance good grades as well as a social life. This became quite the challenge, as it was her life everyday, year after year.

“Overall, I think the demand from swimming was worth it because it taught me to do my homework and to not push it off,” Ekk said. “It also taught me to not procrastinate and to do my work right away rather than later.”

Once she got to highschool, Ekk started dominating her competition– consistently winning her meets and proving herself to be a valuable asset to all of her teams. Likewise, she started her search for a potential college. In October 2022, Ekk verbally committed to Auburn.

“I felt a sense of relief,” Ekk said. “For me, it was a big weight on my shoulders and I was ultimately choosing my future so when I verbally committed it was good.”

Since then, she has continued to develop her skills. In November 2023, Ekk competed at the high school swim and dive states final meet. She was runner-up for her events and set three new school records.

On Jan. 19, Ekk officially signed to Auburn University. The signing opened with a speech from the athletic director Harold Hilliard, followed by speeches from Ekk’s parents. Finally, she picked up the pen that would bind her to being a Tiger for the next four years, and signed.

“I feel like I’m already at the school and I’m ready to be there,” Ekk said. “It was just another step to being closer to Auburn and I am looking forward to being surrounded by my new family.”

Ekk will continue to challenge herself and practice daily as the first day of her collegiate practice approaches. As of now, she will enjoy the relief of officially being signed and will enjoy the rest of her senior year with ease.