Olympic fever is quickly spreading throughout Westchester, and for one talented local swimmer, the heat is about to reach a fever-pitch.
As most kids gear up to cheer for their favorite Olympic swimmers in the London 2012 games, New Rochelle’s Emily Escobedo, a 16 years old student at Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale and swimmer for the Condors Swim Club, is preparing to compete for her chance to make the Olympic team.
While Emily’s spent the past year enduring a rigorous training schedule, swimming 6 days per week, often morning and night, she never waivers in her commitment to the sport.
This upcoming Friday, June 29th, Emily’s hard work will pay off, when she will have the honor of swimming in the 200 meter breast stroke Olympic Trial in Omaha, Nebraska. In between her hectic training schedule, Emily was kind enough to answer some questions about her awesome accomplishments for Westchester Happening.
WH: What do you love most about swimming?
Emily: I think that being a swimmer is very similar to other athletes with their sports- at times, they just feel sick of it and need a break. But, all athletes know that their sport is what defines them, and they can’t live without it. For me, swimming is perfect for everything; it makes me feel better if I’m upset or even sick. It clears my mind and gives me that chance to relax and not have to worry or think about anything. It also gives me the chance to be part of a team and meet new people who eventually become like family. And another big benefit to swimming is that it keeps me in shape and allows me to eat whatever I want!!
WH: What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your swimming career?
Emily: There are 2 really tough challenges that I’ve had to face with swimming. First, is switching teams and losing coaches. When I first started swimming, I swam at the YMCA in White Plains on the Riptides. They literally were family and still are. Eventually as the team grew, though, they needed more accommodations than the Y was able to supply, so the coaches decided to leave and the team was split up. Kids moved to different teams, other quit, and some moved with the coaches, including myself. However, that was hard because what was a family to me had been broken. Losing coaches is also very hard. I’ve had many different coaches over my swimming career, and when you grow attached to one, and then they leave it’s very hard to recover. A second challenge has occured this year. I grew a lot this year, and as you grow and your body changes your strokes also change. I haven’t done well with my times all this year, and I’m still trying to overcome that.
WH: At only 16, you have already accomplished so much. What are you most proud of? What do you think has been the biggest factor in getting you here?
Emily: I’m most proud of my Olympic trial cut in the 200 breast. I’m actually here right now, and it’s an amazing experience just being here. Even though I only made one event, it’s still a big accomplishment and took a lot of work getting here. The biggest factor I would say is my love for the sport. I am a firm believer that if you enjoy it, you’ll do amazing things but if you hate it, then you might as well just quit. So loving swimming and being able to go to practice everyday is a big deal. Coaches also are a huge factor because they are guiding you and training you and trying to show you what you can accomplish if you work hard. So, my coaches are also a huge factor to my success, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am.
WH: We always hear those stories about how many calories high performing swimmers need to consumer to maintain their energy. Where is your favorite place to indulge in Westchester?
Emily: It’s really cool to be a swimmer because we can eat whatever we want and not have to worry about calories or gaining weight! I’m a huge ice cream lover so my favorite places to indulge would have to be any ice cream shop like Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone Creamery, and frozen yogurt places like Froyo.
WH: Best of luck in the big event on Friday. Westchester will be cheering for you!
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