For freshman Olivia Strelevitz swimming is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Her dedication and work ethic have now earned her a spot at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. on June 26.
“I thought I could only dream about making it this far in my swimming career, but having my dreams become reality has been mind-boggling and I cannot even try to put into words how extremely excited I am to have made it this far,” Strelevitz said. “I have not yet announced to my peers or superiors at Ledyard High School of my success as I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a dream before doing so. This will be my big announcement.”
Young athletes typically face criticism for the demanding training that accompanies competition at the Olympic level. “For the most part I am surrounded by pure support and happiness, but I would be lying if I said there weren’t times where my coach and even my parents, questioned whether or not the trip to the trials in Nebraska would be worth it considering my young age,” she said.
“I have no doubt that Ledyard will be nothing but supportive, however, it has crossed my mind that Mr. Palmieri does not enjoy grading papers on any sporting competition and I don’t know if I will be able to keep myself from writing about this summer. But I will be competing regardless for I’ve made it this far. Certainly no criticism will make me turn back now.”
Despite putting in the time, Strelevitz still finds herself questioning her years of swimming. “Even today, I sometimes find myself wondering if the sore legs, arms, and abs, if the late-night practices and crack of dawn meets are all worth it,” she said. “But those moments when I get out of the pool after an amazing race make it all worth it. Finally making it this far and having the trials only months away makes every sacrifice I have ever given up worth it.
Supporters of the young phenom swimmer might not witness a gold medal performance but can remain committed to her success in the near future.
“Being surrounded by all of the professional athletes this summer will be so overwhelming, but I will make it a point to meet Missy Franklin, who competed in her first Olympic games at 17. I am also very anxious to meet and talk to Ledyard’s very own Jessica Hespeler.”
|Megan Brawner, Editor-in-Chief|
Senior Megan Brawner is the Editor-in-Chief of the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is the captain of the cross country team and runs Indoor and Outdoor Track. She participates in Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) Club and is the secretary of the Senior Class. She is the Editor of Key Club. She will attend Central Connecticut State University to study Business next fall.