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Until a few weeks ago, Davidson College graduating senior Lindsey Martin didn't know much about the person behind the school's Rebecca Stimson Award.

She had no idea that Stimson graduated from Girls Preparatory School in 1973, which was 34 years before Martin did in 2007. Nor did she know that Becca's daughter, Rebecca Jenkins, is currently a GPS student. Or that Stimson was in the first class of women admitted to Davidson.

But as one of the Wildcats' finest swimmers ever, Martin did know that the Stimson is annually given to the college's outstanding female athlete. And having twice qualified for the NCAA nationals, she hoped her accomplishments might win her the award.

"Swimming in general is an underappreciated sport," said Martin, who will begin medical school at Wake Forest in the fall. "So anytime you have a chance to be recognized with a big award, it's not only a thrill for me, but for our sport and our team."

On May 16, Martin got her big award. A little over a week later she finally met the woman it was named for.

"When Lindsey went to Davidson, I kind of thought, 'Wouldn't that be cool if she won it?'" said Stimson, who lettered in basketball, tennis, field hockey and just about any other sport the Lady Wildcats needed help with during her time there. "It really does make it extra special to have someone from GPS win it."

Special is what Stimson accomplished before she graduated with a degree in chemistry from the prestigious North Carolina school in 1977.

"The first year we were on campus, they still had urinals in the dorms," said Stimson, whose father and grandfather also graduated from Davidson. "It was all pretty makeshift."

Here's makeshift: Because Terry Holland - who would later guide Virginia to the Final Four - was the Davidson men's basketball coach, his wife Ann was put in charge of coaching the Wildcat women.

"I think she'd go home at night and ask Terry what we should practice the next day," said Stimson. "Our [dormitory] hall counselor became our tennis coach because she said she could play a little. There were six of us who'd played in high school and that was enough to field a team."

But despite the obstacles, Stimson loved every minute of it.

"Those women from that first year at Davidson are still my best friends today," she said.

Despite her accomplishments both academically as a physics major (honorable mention Academic All-American) and athletically as the school's individual record holder in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle - as well as a shared record holder on five relay teams - Martin sometimes struggled with the realization that swimming still doesn't get much more attention than any of Stimson's teams received four decades ago.

"The crowd for meets was almost always all parents," she said. "Davidson has a thing called Wildcat Pride Points. You get them for going to athletic events. To get people to swim meets they'd sometimes offer double pride points or triple pride points. It still didn't help. But sometimes I'd sneak up to the front door between races just to get some extra pride points."

So other than earning a Davidson diploma and the Stimson award, what's Martin most proud of during her time there?

"They give a freshman athlete of the year award," she said. "They put your name on a permanent plaque. I won it my freshman year in 2008. The person who won it the year before me was Stephen Curry [who now plays for the NBA's Golden State Warriors]. So my name's right next to his, which I think is pretty neat."

A member of the GPS Hall of Fame, Stimson says some people think it's pretty neat that she's still around to talk about the award bearing her name.

"I was at a tennis tournament a few years ago and something about the award came up," she said, a smile spreading across her face. "A few people thought it was a memorial award, that I wasn't around anymore."

The story of one GPS and Davidson grad winning an award named for another GPS and Davidson grad will now be around forevermore, the lives and accomplishments of Martin and Stimson permanently connected.

Asked her thoughts on that bond now that she can place a face with a name, Martin said, "It's way cool."

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