Oct. 20, 2004
By Scott MacDonald
When Georgia Tech women’s swimming standout Lisa Hancock was growing up her father, Ken owned a recreation pool in her hometown of Pendleton, S.C. With an older sister, Lauren, and a younger brother, Rick, the Hancock’s used to spend weekends at the pool with their father. It was inevitable that they would begin to excel at swimming.
“We spent so much time down there we just began to swim,” said Hancock.
Lisa and Lauren began to star at club meets and competitions together and eventually led Pendleton High School’s 200-yard medley relay team to a state title in 1998. That following summer, Lauren decided to go to college at Duke University.
“My sister and I had so much fun swimming in competitions,” said the three-year Tech captain Hancock. “We never cared who won. I mean I hated finishing second, but if she won, then I didn’t mind as much.”
Hancock was a two-sport star at Pendleton, leading the cross country team to state titles in `97 and ’99. She earned all-state honors in both seasons and garnered such honors in swimming in 2000. When it came to deciding which school she was going to sign with, Georgia Tech stood out more than the rest.
“I knew that I didn’t want to go to Duke because my sister went there,” said Hancock. “I decided that I was going to go to another school in the ACC and chose Georgia Tech.”
The Yellow Jackets fielded its first women’s swimming and diving team in 2000-01. That inaugural season, Tech finished in eighth place at the ACC Championships, one spot behind Duke.
“It was a lot of fun competing against my sister again,” said Hancock. Lisa would exact some revenge as the Jackets defeated Duke in a dual meet that next season and placed higher than the Blue Devils in her sophomore and junior seasons.
Following in his sisters’ footsteps, Rick Hancock signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Virginia. The Cavaliers were the defending men’s ACC champions and Lisa had no doubt that her brother was the most talented swimmer of them all.
“He is the best swimmer of us all,” said Hancock. “We knew it while he was growing up that he was going to be better than my sister and I.”
Before the Hancock’s could reunite at the 2004 ACC Championships, hard luck struck Lisa in January when she had to make the tough decision to have season-ending surgery on her shoulder.
“I had a pinch nerve in my shoulder and tried to fight through the pain beginning in November,” said Hancock. “I just could not do it anymore and my times were getting worse and worse, so I decided to have the surgery and spent a week in the hospital.”
Lisa’s brother went on to help UVa capture its sixth straight ACC title, while her sister rapped up her career at Duke. During that time, Lisa was working hard in rehabilitation to try and get back for her senior season. With swimming playing such a huge role in the family, her sister decided to become a coach at Duke University in 2004-05.
“My sister is now a coach at Duke,” said Hancock. When asked if she had such aspirations, she simply replied, “no, I want to open up a daycare center when I finish college.”
Lisa has finally recovered from surgery and is almost able to train as hard as when she was healthy. For her final season, she just hopes that she can fully recover and get back to the level she was competing at before the unfortunate incident that sidelined her for the ACC Championships.
“I just want to get back to swimming the times I was before the injury,” said Hancock. “Once I do that, I can focus on trying to achieve some of the team goals laid out before us like improving at the ACC Championships. With the freshmen we have brought in and the swimmers we have back, we should have a good shot at it.”