Player Spotlight: Swim and Dive Mikayla Popham


Swimmer and sophomore, Mikayla Popham diving into the pool. Photo provided by Dan Sperl/ CSUB Athletics

David Mendoza, Staff Writer

One of the most talented freestyle swimmers at CSUB, Mikayla Popham sits down to discuss this past season and what she looks to accomplish in her career moving forward. Popham is originally from Sunshine Coast, Australia and is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Psychology and minoring in Kinesiology.   

Popham shares that she learned to swim at a young age. With time she eventually advanced her skill and grew a genuine love for the sport. 

She states, “I fell in love with swimming and it’s something I’ve always done.”  

When asked what interested her to come to CSUB she explained that her recruitment process was actually very similar to what the COVID process is now. This is because the only way to be in contact with different schools and coaches when in Australia was via Skype. What helped her decide to join CSUB was the coaching staff, distance from the beach, and the weather in California as it reminded her of back home.  

One of the most successful moments this past season for her was winning the 100 freestyle race at the National Invitationals Championship that was held in Elkhart Indiana.  

She stated “My 200 free the day before which was not the best and not exactly what I wanted. It’s like being able to come back the next day and do that made me super proud of myself to know that I can do that.” 

When asked what athlete inspires her, she shared Australian Swimmer Emma Mckeon who has won over 40 medals since she began competing for Australia at the world championships. This 27 year old athlete captures the mindset that Popham strives to be like. 

Looking towards the next season, Popham shares that her biggest goal is to reach the NCAA championship as she witnessed her fellow teammate Autumn D’arcy be the first women in CSUB Swim and Dive program history to reach this milestone. 

This dream continues to inspire her to train hard this summer and be ready to accomplish more next season.