The SwimLight – Getting to Know Gabi Albiero (Video)


As a senior superstar for the University of Louisville, Gabi Albiero is a thrilling presence in college swimming. She stands out as an exciting athlete to watch because of her consistently outstanding swimming. Albiero excels in the fast-paced sprint freestyle and butterfly events, and was a huge contributor to Louisville’s impressive fourth-place finish at last year’s NCAA Championships. With the support of her parents at the start of her swimming career, Albiero has gone on to establish herself as an impactful figure in the sport through her dedication and outstanding performances. Nevertheless, there is a depth to her character that goes beyond the pool. 

Albiero’s parents first sparked her interest in swimming, as they were both collegiate swimmers who later transitioned into coaching. Albiero was passionate about volleyball but ultimately only had eyes for swimming. 

“My parents are both swim coaches. They both swam all throughout their lives, and they actually met in college. They both swam at Oakland University. They went on to coach at different colleges. My mom started our club team that I have swam on my whole life, which is Cardinal Aquatics. Obviously, my dad is the head coach at Louisville, so swimming was just always something that we did. My brothers did all the sports, like baseball and soccer, but for me, it was mostly just swimming. Then, I also played volleyball a little bit in middle school and elementary school, and I loved volleyball. But obviously, swimming is an all-or-nothing sport, and I knew I couldn’t do both anymore. I feel like I’ve been swimming since I was physically able to. I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t swimming. It’s been a constant in my life since I can remember.”

So far, the 2023 NCAA championships have been Albiero’s favorite moment while swimming at the University of Louisville. She and her team put much effort into Louisville’s triumphant fourth-place performance at the championship meet. She was confident they could succeed if they were willing to put in the necessary effort. 

“It would have to be this past NCAAs,” Albiero said of her most memorable moment. “Getting into the top four was just something that we had thought about all year. The year before, we got sixth, and that was better than we were projected. It was just a shock, and we were so happy with that. After that year, we knew that we could get a trophy. Our team had done it in 2019, but no one who was part of the 2019 team was still around. For me, I wanted to do something that I’d seen happen before, and I wanted to be a part of it. It was such a big moment for our university. We knew we wanted to do that all year.” 

Albiero thought back to her early swimming days in middle and high school, when she was often upset about skipping out on social gatherings because of the sport. As advice to her younger self, she pointed out that there is a purpose for spending so much time at the pool.

“I just remember being a kid, and like I said, in swimming, you have to be all in, and you have to miss a lot of things. I remember I would show up to the football games in high school and middle school with wet hair, and I had to miss sleepovers and stuff like that,” she said. “It was just really hard as a kid. I would just tell myself now that it’s all going to be worth it one day and that the things that I thought were super important at the time really didn’t matter. I would just remind myself that there’s a reason why you’re doing this. There’s a reason why you might have to miss things, and it’s all going to be worth it.”

The camaraderie Albiero experiences with her teammates on the University of Louisville women’s swim team is her favorite aspect of swimming. She is appreciative of the friendships she has developed throughout her time in college and will most certainly miss those relationships after she is done swimming collegiately. 

“My collegiate answer would just be being on a team and having 20-plus girls that I know I can turn to for any problem,” Albiero said. “Our associate head coach, Stephanie (Juncker), swam at Louisville back in the day, and she just reminds us often that it’s never going to be like this again where you’re going to have 20-plus best friends. That’s not how it goes in the workplace. After you leave college, you don’t get this back. I feel like that’s something she’s told us so much about, just to be so grateful for the friendships and the relationships that you’re making because it really is going to go by so fast. Even with the horrible practices, you’re doing them with all of your best friends, and you’re all struggling together. That’s probably the part I’m going to miss the most when I’m done.”

With the Pan-American Games approaching in just a little over a month, Albiero has shifted her training regimen to prioritize her performance in the pool during this competition. She is currently adhering to a different training program that sets her apart from the rest of her team, all in the pursuit of maximizing her speed and readiness for the competition in Santiago, Chile.

I am training a little bit differently than the rest of the team just because I took my break after nationals at a different time and I could get back into it earlier. The yardage has been a bit higher than the rest of the team and just a little bit more intense. That load will start to slowly but surely come down. It is a little bit unique with it being in October, just with the timing of it. But I’m pretty confident that we went up in August and September enough that it won’t affect my short course season because, ultimately, it’s really important to me. I’m super excited, and it’s still a little far away, but I know it’s going to get here really fast.”

Albiero is a big fan of the movie The Last Song, which features Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. The film deeply resonates with her, and she’s even taken the time to read the novel about the film. Albiero finds that the dynamic of the characters is meaningful and that the underlying message of the story is quite significant. 

“My all-time favorite movie is The Last Song, which has Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth in it. I love this movie so much, and I could write a paper on it. I just love the dynamic of the movie, and I think it’s a really good movie. It also has a dynamic between the main character and her dad, which I think is a super sweet story just about how life is short and letting things go because you don’t know when someone’s last day is. On top of that, I love the story. It’s the reason that Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth met.” 

Albiero does not have a preference for pineapple pizza. While she would eat it if necessary, she doesn’t believe that the sweetness of pineapple complements the tomato sauce. With her response, the SwimLight tally for swimmers who are for pineapple on pizza to those who are against it is 1-1. 

“I only like it if the base is barbecue sauce, like a barbecue chicken bacon pizza with pineapple. I don’t think that pineapple goes well with tomato sauce. The barbecue sauce is sweet, and it goes along with the sweetness of the pineapple, but the tomato doesn’t make sense to me. I’d eat it; I just wouldn’t pick it.”

There is no doubt that college is expensive, so if Albiero could have an unlimited supply of anything, it would be vitamins. She’s recently started a new vitamin regimen, and having an endless supply of them would certainly help her save some money.

“This is such a boring answer, but I would say protein shakes or vitamins. I’d probably go for vitamins because, in the past year, I’ve developed a vitamin regimen that I do every day. It’s shocking how expensive they are and how often I have to go buy them.”

Although Albiero is not a picky eater, she cannot get behind the currently trending food combination of cottage cheese and mustard. 

“The thing is, I’m really not a picky eater. I love almost everything, but it would have to be this new trend I’ve seen on TikTok with cottage cheese and mustard, where you dip food right into cottage cheese and mustard. I would try it, but cottage cheese—I don’t like the texture. I don’t like the taste. So that would have to be a no for me.”

Winning the lottery has the potential to transform anyone’s life, but if Albiero were to win, she would use the money to make a positive impact on the lives of others. She would donate a substantial portion, assist her cousin in affording cancer treatment, and support her parents as a way of giving back.

“I would definitely give some away. The first thing that came to mind was that one of my distant cousins was just recently diagnosed with cancer. He’s doing well, but obviously, cancer is expensive, with all the treatments and everything. My thought was to help him out with that. Also, I’d probably give my parents some money. The amount of money they spent on me is unreal. I probably give them some for a house renovation or for getting a new boat.”

Albiero has a strong and special connection with her brother, Nick, also a world-class swimmer. If given the chance to travel anywhere in the world right now, her destination of choice would be Brazil, where she could arrange a surprise visit to see him. 

“I would go to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to visit my brother. He’s my best friend, and this is the longest we’ve ever been apart. It’s been a month and a half, or maybe two months. I miss him a lot, so I would definitely go there and surprise him.”

If Albiero could pick a moment in her life to relive again and again, it would be her oldest brother’s wedding. It remains one of the most joyful days she has ever experienced and holds deep sentimental value for her entire family.

“I would have to say my oldest brother’s wedding. It was just one of the most fun days. My brother was supposed to get married in April of 2020, and then COVID hit. So it was postponed a whole year. When the day finally came, it was just so special. We were all just so happy for it to finally be here. Everything went perfectly. It was a beautiful day outside. It’s just one of the most fun memories I have.” 

Fun fact: Gabi Albiero and her family have a boat they enjoy taking out on the Ohio River!

“We have a pontoon, and we go on the Ohio River. We go pretty far, and it’s actually beautiful. We go out often in the summer. Obviously, our summers are pretty busy with all the different meet schedules, but my parents will go out on a random night, take it to one of the riverside restaurants, and get dinner on the boat. It’s a super fun thing for them. There’s a place called Captain’s Quarters, and you can just pull up on the side, and they’ll come out and take your order on the boat, which is super fun. It’s one of my favorite things we do.”

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x