Updated Mon, Jan 9, 2012 12:58 pm
For Rachel Stearns, swimming is a passion she has held her whole life.
Being born into a family of swimmers, both parents being swimmers and her father being a coach, it was inevitable that her fate would be in the water. As a toddler her parents constantly put Rachel in swim lessons and by the age of eight she was involved with competitive swimming.
“By the time I could walk they threw me in the water,” Stearns said. “I don’t remember not swimming.”
This year at the MAC tournament, Stearns will be participating in the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 200 Individual Medley (IM). Last year, as a freshman, she won the 200 backstroke at the MAC Championship and came in second at during the 200 IM and 100 back. Though Stearns has a passion for swimming, she also has a passion for her teammates.
“Coming into practice every day is literally so hard,” she said. “ If I came in here and didn’t have these people by my side doing the same thing as me I don’t know what I would do, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
In her first year of swimming for the Bobcats’, Stearns has dived in and set various records amongst her team. She is top-ranked in school history for her times in the 200 Yard Individual Medley - at a time of 2:01.3 - and the 200 Yard Backstroke - at a time of 1:57.20. She places second within in the team’s records for the 100 Backstroke with a time of 54.67. In the 400 Medley, with three other teammates, she pushed the team to a record holding time of 3:39.47.
Most of Stearns time is spent with her team. Outside of the pool the team is usually spending time together as a “family.” During the quarter she spends 20 hours in the pool and during winter intercession she spent six hours a day in the water. Her dedication to swimming and practice hasn’t come easy.
“I’ve had my areas in my life where I have thrown down my goggles, decided not to swim anymore and my parents would let me take a break,” Stearns said. “I would eventually come back and realize how much I missed it.”
Not only has she made a splash of success in swimming, she has also molded into a leader for her teammates. To say that Rachel Stearns won’t be swimming for years to come would be a false statement.
“I can’t imagine my life without swimming, it’s just natural for me,” Stearns said.