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Sarah: Swimming

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD

Meet Sarah, whose passion for swimming is totally inspiring! Find out how Sarah gets psyched for competition, why she thinks two teams are better than one, and how swimming strengthens both her body and her mind.

A Day in the Life
Just tagging along.
"My brother and sister got a flyer from school saying the school wanted us to try out for the swim team at the local pool. And I went with them - I wasn't planning on trying out but I went anyway and when I got there, I was just sitting down with my brother and sister and people thought I was there to try out. So they gave me an extra suit, and I just went and sat with everybody else and ended up trying out, too. I ended up being one of the better swimmers and got put on the team!"

Twice as nice. "I'm actually on two swim teams. I'm on my high school team, and I'm also on a club team."

The best of coaches. "The coach from my high school team - he's the best. He's so nice; he's really a blast. It's really easy to talk to him about anything. He helps us with all of our problems and he is really understanding, too. We have a really close relationship with our high school coach. And it's the same with our club coach; he's really nice, too, and he's always encouraging us and he's there to motivate us."

Getting psyched. "Well, first we have this big, long pep talk from our coach. Then what I've been taught to do is: I'm supposed to focus on my race and I'm supposed to picture it mentally. So usually I'll listen to one of my CDs - a real upbeat song - while I'm picturing my race. Then I'll go around with my friends and we all talk about our races and get each other psyched for our races. Then right before my race, I'll go up to the block - and I have one of these little teddy bears that I've carried with me ever since I started swimming - and I rub its head and stand behind the block. I just kind of look at my lane and picture myself racing. I leave the teddy bear on the block of the lane where I'm swimming."

Expert Advice
Dedication, dedication, dedication.
"I would say 'Go for it!' It's fun. It's a lot of work - you have to be very dedicated to be a swimmer. You work so hard, but it's so much fun. You have to really have a love for the sport to be in it. It's not something you can just kind of do just because, or something you do because your parents want you to do it. You have to be very dedicated, but I think it's worth it."

Getting Personal
Friends in the swim.
"Most of [my teammates] are my really good friends because I'm with them all the time. That's pretty much who my friends are! We've been swimming together since I started."

Physical strength and mental focus. "Swimming is a big physical help because that way, I'm a lot stronger than most girls are. I've never broken a bone and I have a lot of endurance. I'm in pretty good shape. Mentally, it helps because swimming helps me focus more on my other subjects, too. Because I have to focus a lot in swimming, I'm kind of already trained to be focused with everything else."

Keeping her swimming spirit. "I have a really bad shoulder problem and sometimes I'm not allowed to swim. It's really frustrating. The doctors aren't exactly sure what's wrong with it - it's just really unstable and sometimes it will start popping out of joint. I've already been in physical therapy a couple of times. They said that they can do surgery on my shoulder, but they're not sure if that would work, so I've just decided to hold off on the surgery. Last year, I wasn't able to swim for a whole summer. It was really hard for me. I would miss it so much, so I'd go up to the pool sometimes and just kind of sit there. I'm not a person who likes to slack off and likes to sit out."

Role models. "I think I probably look up to my coaches the most, because they're always talking about when they were swimmers and what it was like for them and how it's pretty much just the same for us. I see how they've come so far and how they've done so well in swimming. I think they're really great people!"

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2003