I was raised in Park Ridge, and have had a love for swimming my entire life. I have been in the water since I was two years old, and I believe that is a major contributor to my comfort and love for water in general. When I was eight, my parents put me into a non-competitive swim team because I wanted to get a taste as to what it was like. I then went on to swim on a competitive team, and it has been my sport ever since. Swimming has not only been a way for me to keep in good shape, but it has taught me many valuable life lessons. A major one would be dedication. Swimmers must have an extreme dedication to their sport for them to stick with it through early morning practices and difficult sets, not to mention barely having days off, and having dedication is something that I know will help me along the road. Dedication is a skill that will not only help me in swimming but in all aspects of my life, it could help in academics, in a future job, or even starting my own business one day. My academic goals are to maintain at least a 3.5 unweighted GPA throughout my entire high school career. A subset of that goal would be to keep that GPA even in the midst of the high school season, where I don’t have as much time for studying and homework. Some obstacles that I have had to overcome include having to switch from my original team, the Des Plaines River Racers, which I loved. I now realize that change is just a part of life and that that was an important element of my life. Also recently, I set myself a goal to make an NCSA qualifying time. I missed out on this goal, and it was difficult to embrace this failure, but I overcame it and am now a better person for it. I don’t like to give up, in fact, I hate it. When I see other swimmers on my team stopping to rest during a difficult set, I think to myself, “Why? What’s the point?”. You can only get better if you work hard and have good technique, so I make sure that no matter how hard something is, I keep going.