I am a 6ft 3in, 150 lbs swimmer from Tucson, AZ swimming for El Dorado Aquatics Club and Catalina Foothills High School. I have been swimming since I was 8 years old, and started year-round swimming at El Dorado when I was 11. I joined El Dorado right after moving to Tucson then from Munich, Germany, where I was born and lived 10 of my first 11 years. I am however of Swedish nationality since both my parents and their families are Swedish. Every year in the Summer I go and visit my family for about two months. During this time I swim at SK Neptun, and I truly integrate into society. Therefore when I moved to the United States I was fluent in German and Swedish, but I didn't speak a word of English. It was a tough transition making new friends in a totally new country, but I have to say I have done extremely well and am very happy about the move.
School was of course a challenge at first, but swimming more so in the long run. In school I caught up fairly quickly, but I was far behind the other guys and girls at El Dorado. My training had not been so serious up to this point and that was totally different at El Dorado. My coach, Franz Resseguie, approached our swimming from a long-term perspective with the goal of maximizing each swimmer's potential, and expected hard work every day, as opposed to the type of laid back just for fun style I was used to. My technique and my times were far behind the others but I was determined to catch up and slowly but securely I started improving. I did however learn a mindset that I am only limited by how hard I work, which was reinforced by my coach and by example as Caitlin Leverenz, who finished third at trials last year, swam with us throughout my time here so whenever I thought I was working hard or going fast enough I knew there was always a higher level. I was probably caught up to the level of fastest guys on the team maybe a couple of years ago, but I always had a long way still to go.
My new coach as of one year ago is Rick Laing. He is much more laid back and wants me to rest up when I'm tired so that I can really go after it when the time comes to swim fast. I like this model more because I feel like I am rewarded for swimming fast as opposed to being punished for coming up short. But I'm open to anything because I feel like I'll always perform better if I buy into the system and work with the coach.
Along with this good relationship, a developing body, as I consider myself a late bloomer, and a more rigid and mature work ethic, came big improvements this year. I learned from the experience that there is not just one way to swim fast. I know that a different training philosophy doesn't have to be worse for me, it may even help me improve as long as I approach it with a positive attitude and a willingness to work hard and stick with it.
After my old coach left, so did most of the team. Now the second fastest swimmer on the team is my 13 year old brother Joen. In addition to him I also train with a group of 10-13 year old girls and two other high school swimmers including my oldest brother Ambjorn, 15. While I enjoy the supportive team atmosphere of being on a large high school team as well as pushing other swimmers to reach farther, I know that it is not up to my teammates, the quality of the pool, or any other extraneous variable whether or not I have a successful practice session or not. It all comes down to my own approach towards being uncomfortable and my willingness to push myself.