PHOENIX, Arizona, June 5. ANGELA Duckworth, a five-star prospect from the Class of 2008, hails from Scottsdale, Ariz., and swims for Desert Mountain High and Sun Devil Aquatics. Duckworth has already signed to compete for Stanford University next year.
Duckworth, who maintains her own profile in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings powered by Take Your Marks, was the winner of the Wendy's High School Heisman this past year in honor of her strong mix of athletic, academic and civic responsibility.
Duckworth also recently earned the 2008 Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Award from the "got milk?" campaign. As a 2008 SAMMY winner, Duckworth will join a distinguished group of fellow SAMMY alumni and celebrities in the Milk Mustache campaign who serve as inspiring role models to teens across the country.
Duckworth will receive a $7,500 college scholarship at an award ceremony and induction into the SAMMY Hall of Fame. In addition, she will have her own milk mustache moment in USA Today on June 27.
Duckworth earned her five-star recruit ranking based on a pair of U.S. Olympic Trials cuts. She will have the chance to compete in Omaha in the 400 free (4:18.19) and 800 free (8:49.16).
Where and when did you start swimming?
I started swimming at Scottsdale Aquatic Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. at the age of 6.
Who would you name as the most influential person and coach in your swimming career?
I would have to say Greg Winslow. He coached me at Sun Devil Aquatics when I was 15 until this past summer. He is now coaching at the University of Utah. I got my first Olympic Trials cut under his coaching in the 800 free. He really showed me the mental side of swimming from preparing, exercising, and practicing my mind, not only my body. I learned how to think optimistically, and the little tricks to help me race and have fun. I have taken all that he has taught me to channel it towards my whole outlook on life.
What is your best moment in the sport and why?
My best moment in swimming is getting my first Olympic Trials cut in the 800 meter freestyle. I got this at Junior Nationals in Indianapolis this past summer. It was really special, because I had gone through two years of hard work that led to nothing but struggle and disappointment. I was so nervous at this meet that I cried before the race. I was getting my pre-race plan from Greg Winslow, and I started to cry because I was so nervous.
I don't know how it happened but I swam out of my mind in lane 8 and just dominated my heat. After my swim, I honestly could not believe it because I dropped 15 seconds in just this one swim. It didn't sink in until my teammates and Greg ran over to me when I got out of the water, and I started to cry again! I cried before and after the race…but for different reasons. It was a great feeling to finally have accomplished something I had been working towards for so long. It was also Greg's last meet as my coach before he went to the University of Utah, so it was great to show him all of his and my hard work was worth it.
What is my favorite set?
I love any best average set. People might think I'm crazy, but I love 9 x 300s on 4:00 best average (short course) or 15 x 200s on 3:00 best average (short course). These sets are extremely hard, but after I am finished with them I feel so accomplished. They prove my endurance and mental strength when I can hold a great time. During these sets once I hit a pace, I can hold it through the entire set and it feels so great to hold a pace for that long! We usually do a set like this once a week on Wednesdays.
Least favorite set?
I don't like a set we do quite often which is 6 x 100s on 6:00 (either short course of long course). I definitely don't have easy speed and the 6 x 100s requires sprinting on each one. I struggle to get up to top speed. I can usually go a time for 20 100s, but it's uncomfortable and almost foreign to swim faster than that for just a few.
Why did you pick Stanford?
Stanford has the perfect balance of academics and swimming that I was looking for when choosing a college. My number one priority was academics and Stanford's reputation was the perfect fit. Also, I am thinking of majoring in psychology and Stanford has the top-ranked psychology department in the nation. The swim team is amazing and I just fit in with all the girls on the team. They are so talented and all have the same goals. The last reason was location. I am from the West Coast in Arizona, and really wanted to be relatively close to home. I also looked at Harvard and Princeton.
What are your short-term goals?
Well, because the Olympic Trials are so close, my short-term goal is to make finals (top 8) at Trials….and then who knows what could happen. I will be swimming the 400 and 800 free.
What are your long-term goals?
My long-term goals are to help Stanford win a NCAA Championship and make the Olympic team in 2012.
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