Swimming World Presents – Before The Beep: With Triangle Aquatic Center Titan Claire Curzan

SW December 2020 - Before the Beep - Claire Curzan
Claire Curzan off the blocks at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series

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Before The Beep: With Claire Curzan

By Shoshanna Rutemiller

 

While the biggest goal of most 16-year-olds is earning their driver’s license, Triangle Aquatic Center Titans’ (Cary, N.C.) Claire Curzan instead has her sights set on the 2021 Olympic Games.

Curzan began turning heads at age 12 when she broke current 100 and 200 meter backstroke world record holder Regan Smith’s 11-12 national age group record in the 100 yard butterfly. And she did it twice in the span of a few months. She initially swam a 54.00 in March 2017 before becoming the only 12-year-old to break the 54-second barrier when she clocked 53.95 in May.

From that point on, the NAG records began falling.
“We didn’t even know what an ‘NAG’ was until she broke her first one,” admits her dad, Mark. “Then once she saw what she could pursue, she started knocking them down.” Claire currently owns 12 NAGs—10 individual and two relays—across the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-16 age groups.

But when asked about her best swimming accomplishment, Curzan doesn’t reflect back on her age-group records. Instead, the team-minded athlete reflects on her 2019-20 high school season.

Earlier this year, the Cardinal Gibbons High School (Raleigh, N.C.) sophomore showcased her incredible talent by breaking two national records in a single night of finals. At the North Carolina 4A Championships, Feb. 7, Curzan first knocked down Torri Huske’s 51.29 100 yard butterfly public record by nearly a second with a 50.35 (also a 15-16 NAG record), becoming the event’s 11th-fastest performer in history. She followed up that swim with a 51.38 in the 100 back that took down Olivia Smoliga’s 51.43 record from 2012.

“We set the goal (to break the national high school records) at the beginning of the season,” says Curzan. “High school season is very supportive and encouraging. It was great to see my progress and to know I was doing it for my team.”

To kick off their 2019-20 high school season, Curzan and her teammates went on a one-day retreat. The time was spent on team-building and goal-setting activities, including developing self-awareness of the personal physical and mental barriers they face as athletes, and then brainstorming ways they would address those barriers throughout the season.

“One of the greatest things you can do as a teammate is provide motivation for your teammates,” says Cardinal Gibbons Coach Jonah Turner. “Sharing your own motivational needs helps others motivate you. (Curzan’s) motivation and driving force was looking over while she’s on the blocks and seeing her teammates cheering for her, knowing that she’s doing it as much for them as for herself.”

Curzan was one of the lucky few to be able to complete her high school season this year despite many other state championships being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Curzan felt the impact later, though, as she was unable to train for six weeks because of pool closures spanning from March through May.

“At first, it was hard to adjust,” says Curzan. “But it ended up being beneficial to my mental health since swimming is a year-round sport. It was nice to take a step back and breathe. I also got the chance to challenge myself with new activities, like running with my mom and different types of tethered workouts. But coming back to the sport really shows me how much I love it.”

Curzan took the time to show her love for the sport by sharing with Swimming World Magazine her own personal mental preparation journey before a big race.

 

To read more about how Claire Curzan mentally prepares for a race,
check out the full Swimming World December 2020 issue…Click here to download now!

SW December 2020 - World Swimmers of the Millenium (So Far) Cover[PHOTO CREDIT: PETER H. BICK]

 

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Swimming World Magazine December 2020 Issue

FEATURES

012 SWIMMERS OF THE MILLENNIUM’S FIRST 20 YEARS (2000-19)
by John Lohn, David Rieder, Andy Ross and Dan D’Addona
World & American: Michael Phelps & Katie Ledecky
European: Pieter van den Hoogenband & Inge de Bruijn
Pacific Rim: Ian Thorpe & Leisel Jones
African: Chad le Clos & Kirsty Coventry

019 PROVING THEIR METTLE
by Andy Ross
After the South African media made several disparaging comments about the women’s swimming team in 2016 when none of their swimmers had qualified for the Rio Olympics, Tatjana Schoenmaker and her South African teammates have been supporting one another and working together to show just how good they can be.

021 FIT TO BE TIED
by John Lohn
At the 1972 Munich Olympics, Sweden’s Gunnar Larsson was awarded the gold medal in the men’s 400 IM, edging USA’s Tim McKee by 2-thousandths of a second. Subsequently, international swimming rules were changed to record results to 1-hundredth of a second, allowing for ties among swimmers with identical times.

034 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH CLAIRE CURZAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

010 TOUGHEST WORKOUTS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Swimming has had its share of taskmasters over the years. In the second of a two-part series on workouts designed to push swimmers to their limits are some sets from respected authoritative figures at Germantown, Arden Hills, Bluefish and Florida who have trained exceptional athletes that have excelled on the international stage.

038 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: BREASTSTROKE BREATHING HEAD TIMING DELAY
by Rod Havriluk
In breaststroke, most swimmers learn to synchronize their head and arm motions to breathe and to recover to the non-012 breathing position. However, a delay in the head motion both to breathe and to recover affords benefits of less resistance, more propulsion and a faster stroke rate.

040 SPECIAL SETS: DAVE SALO—THE MAN AND THE METHOD
by Michael J. Stott
Dave Salo has represented the United States as an Olympic, World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships coach and has guided the USC Trojans to 18 NCAA Top 10 finishes in 14 years. But his enduring legacy will most likely be his training mindset that emphasizes race-pace training and quality over quantity.

043 Q&A WITH COACH MICHAEL BROOKS
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN THOMAS HAGAR
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037 DRYSIDE TRAINING: POSSIBLY THE 5 BEST DRYLAND EXERCISES EVER!
by J.R. Rosania
If done properly and regulary, these exercises can enhance your stroke, technique, power and speed.

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: ERIKA PELAEZ
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE ART OF SWIMMING?

026 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

036 DADS ON DECK

046 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

048 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

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