Swimmers splash their way to the Junior Olympics


lucyFreshman Sophie Reynolds, sophomore Lucy Faust, and junior Spencer Tang will compete in the Adam Szmidt Memorial Pacific Swimming Junior Olympics Championships in Moraga and Concord from July 12-14. The Junior Olympics occurs three times a year for swimming, and is just the beginning for more advanced meets.

Reynolds first qualified for the Junior Olympics when she was 10 and said it was a huge accomplishment for her at the time. She currently competes with the Terrapins Swim Team.

“This meet is very official, so when I compete in it I always swim well because I am always very focused,” Reynolds said.

Faust said when she first qualified at age 10, she was really stoked. She has known she has qualified for the meet for a while because the qualifying times are public.

“‘I’ll get excited when it’s over so I can eat junk food,” Faust said. “Just kidding, I’m most excited to swim fast.”

Faust said she loves hanging out with her team the entire day and is always hoping for the best times.

“Any meet is a good experience to have another swim on your back,” Faust said. “The benefit is just getting more yards in.”

Tang has been going to the Junior Olympicsswimming group since he was 12, and has been about 15 times total. He currently competes with Albany Armada Aquatics.

“It’s a work through meet, meaning its a part of my training and I’m just trying to get experience and training from the meet,” Tang said.

Tang said he sometimes travels to the meet with Faust and Reynolds, but since they are all on different teams, they separate when they get there.

“Funny because we used to all be on one Piedmont swim team, so we’re all pretty close friends,” Tang said.

Tang said the Swimming Junior Olympics are not as big of a deal as the Junior Olympics for other sports.

“Junior Olympics is the first step to get to the top meets,” Tang said. “The higher you go, the faster the cut times are.”

After the Junior Olympics comes Far Westerns, Sectionals, the Grand Prix, Junior Nationals, then Nationals, Tang said.

“I’m currently at Sectionals working my way to the Grand Prix/ Jr. Nationals,” Tang said. “The two can really intertwine.”

Faust said at the faster meets, she can only swim her best events because she usually does not qualify for the ones she is not as good at.

“But at the Junior Olympics, since I qualify in almost every event, I get to swim the events that I wouldn’t swim during my peak season,” Faust said.

Tang said the Junior Olympics are fun to compete in because he gets to the finals and wins a lot of metals.

“Its nice to feel good about yourself because once you get to the top meets, you start to feel like you’re the slowest person ever because everyone is amazingly fast,” Tang said.

Tang said swimming is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports out there.

“You pretty much spend the whole time thinking about stuff because all you’re doing is going back and forth in a pool looking down on a black line,” Tang said. “It builds character, it really does.”

Faust said she swimming is a lifetime sport that requires a lot of motivation, dedication and mental focus.

“Unlike some other sports, there’s no way to hide behind someone, like a better player,” Faust said. “Also, we always come out clean. We’re never sweaty or gross.”

Faust say her favorite parts about swimming are the friends she has made and the feeling she gets when swimming a best time. Her goal this summer is to swim at Sectionals.

“Well I can’t get to the Olympics,” Faust said. “So my ultimate goal is to swim at a good school in college, and to swim at an international meet.”

Reynolds said this summer, she is working towards making it to Junior Nationals. She would love to swim in college, and maybe even make it to the Olympics one day.

“I’m always pushing myself to improve and push myself out of my comfort zone,” Reynolds said. “I love swimming because it is a mental challenge that in the end makes me a better person physically and psychologically.”

Tang said to be good and fast, swimmers must swim everyday, twice a day. Even missing one practice can throw someone off balance.

“I used to be the fattest slacker the world [had] ever [seen],” Tang said. “But swimming forced me to work hard if I wanted to achieve something greater, because slacking isn’t going to get you where you want.”

Tang said he sticks with swimming because he truly enjoys it and has an appreciation for the sport.

“It’s difficult to explain, but it’s really like how a kid appreciates someone who helped them out in a tough situation,” Tang