Gaby Antonini

University of Denver junior swimmer Gaby Antonini knows that hard work pays off: For the ninth-consecutive year, DU Women’s Swimming and Diving team recently secured the title of league champions.

As Antonini celebrates this major accomplishment with her team, the backstroker from Florida says time spent with her teammates — both in and out of the pool — has been the highlight of her DU experience.

“When you’re a student-athlete, you’re fortunate in that your team comes with built-in friends. Since my official visit, everyone on the team has been super welcoming,” Antonini says.

Having friends to “suffer through” the challenging parts of being a student-athlete together, Antonini says, has been key to helping her succeed at DU.

The discipline she’s learned from over 17 years of swimming has also been instrumental in enabling her to juggle a demanding sport and excel in the classroom.

On a typical day during swim season, Antonini wakes up at 5:20 a.m. for 6 a.m. practice. She swims from 6-7:30 a.m., attends classes and then is back at practice from 2:15-4:15 p.m.. After that, it’s off to do homework and study with her teammates.

Antonini is a psychology and business double major, and she is currently in the process of applying for the Daniels Distinction program. Daniels Distinction recognizes high-performing, truly distinctive undergraduate business students.

Antonini says that while she’s still refining her thesis topic, she’d like to explore the difference between how blue-collar workers in the United States are treated based on whether they are white or Latin American.

A first-generation American whose parents hail from Venezuela, Antonini says her DU experience almost didn’t happen at all.

Although she received scholarships and financial aid, Antonini says the initial offer just wasn’t enough to make attending DU financially feasible.

She says she was coming to terms with not being able to attend her first-choice school when someone from DU called to offer her another scholarship. That offer allowed her to say “yes” to DU.

“I wouldn’t be here without scholarships,” she says. “Donors make DU possible for so many students.”

To learn about how your gift in support of scholarships can make a difference in the lives of students like Gaby, contact