Elizabeth Ann Emery, an All-American swimmer for NC State in the early 1980s who went on to win a gold medal in the World University Games in 1983, died Thursday. She was 50.
Beth Emery was one of seven NC State swimmers to be named in 2002 to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 50th Anniversary team of the best female swimmers and divers in conference history.
Emery earned All-American honors every season from 1980-83, and won five ACC championships, in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle. She still owns three all-time top 10 marks at NC State. In 1983, Emery won the Willis Casey Award as the NC State student-athlete of the year.
Braden Holloway ’01, the head coach of swimming and diving at NC State, says he sometimes mentions Emery and her accomplishments when he’s trying to help current Wolfpack swimmers appreciate the team’s history and tradition.
“She was one of the best swimmers to come through here,” Holloway says. “She was a vital piece of the success of the women’s program.”
After graduating from NC State in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, Emery went on to earn a master’s degree from Ohio State University. She was finishing a doctorate in sports humanities from Ohio State.
Emery initially worked as a land development planner in North Carolina and California before returning home to Ohio. She worked at Mills-James Productions for more than 19 years, most recently as a producer and director.
Emery stayed connected to swimming after leaving NC State, setting three Master’s swimming world records in 2002 and volunteering with the undergraduate and Master’s swimming programs at Ohio State. She was inducted into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
Family will receive friends Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 508 Center Street, Ashland, Ohio. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church, reception to follow.
Memorial contributions may be made to NC State Swimming, Weisiger Brown Building, 2500 Warren Carroll Dr., Campus Box 8502, Raleigh, NC 27695; the Cat Welfare Association, 741 Wetmore Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43214; the Ashland YMCA, 207 Miller Street, Ashland, Ohio, 44805; or Ohio State Swimming, 1847 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43210.