By Swimming World Intern Natasha Mascarenhas
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 11. FOR most people, 5 a.m. daily practices, cramming in homework between races, and 12-hour swim meets do not seem very appealing. But this is what gets swimmers excited. It is a hard sport, and it takes a lot of heart to keep on going. In the end, dedicated swimmers are born, and the CeraVe Invitational is full of these great athletes.
Megan Kramer, 10, might be a young swimmer, but there is nothing juvenile about her passion to swim. The sister of two older brothers, Kramer was inspired to swim because of her family’s interest in the sport. Since she began a couple years ago, she has continued to have fun with it with others at the Bluefish Swim Club.
Along with Kramer, other passionate Bluefish Swim Club members are 15-year-old Courtney Brown and 14-year-old Abby Morgan. Brown and Morgan are close friends that both agree that the reason they swim is their true passion for the sport.
“Honestly, if I wasn’t here, I’d probably be at practice,” Morgan said. “I’d be stretching or doing laps. You’ll always find me doing something swimming-related.”
Just like Morgan, Brown enjoys every part of the sport, and finds that races are a huge part of the fun that comes from swimming. Although school and hanging out with friends are fun aspects of the teen years, both girls agree that swimming is their favorite thing to do.
Another passionate swimmer is Tricha Olip from Scarlet Aquatics. The 10-year-old breaststroker explained that she doesn’t settle for anything less than fast times. She puts all her free time towards stretching and practicing in hopes of achieving her goal times. Olip has big ambitions, and her drive is ignited by these hopes for her future.
“I swim because I want to be a marine biologist when I grow up,” Olip said. “I feel like swimming will help me work towards this goal, and it just inspires me to work harder.”
In other words, Olip loves water whether she is in it, or studying it.
With as much love for swimming as Olip, Kevin Flynn from Berkeley Aquatic Club is a big believer in putting heart into his strokes. Flynn just started high school; however he already knows he wants to go to college for swimming and pursue it as a career. The teen chose this path because he considers swimming a real test of strength.
“I swim because it requires toughness,” Flynn said. “A lot of people give up swimming or are too scared to try because it is intimidating, but not me. I want to challenge myself as much as I can.”
Flynn’s attitude characterizes the spirit within the hearts of many swimmers here this weekend at the CeraVe Invitational. Everyone here is alike in one way: They don’t just dip their toes in the pool, they dive right in.