Green River Star -

By David Martin

For swimmers, dedication is key


David Martin

Sydni Sanders and Avery Otto stand in the practice pool at the Green River High School Aquatics Center Saturday during a USA Swim meet.

A majority of high school students spend their summers working seasonal jobs, hanging out with friends or enjoying their carefree days under the sun.

For a few hardworking swimmers, the summer months make for another competitive season in the pool.

Swimmers Avery Otto, an incoming senior, and Sydni Sanders, an incoming sophomore, said they spend much of the year training and competing in the pool. The two are members of the Green River High School Girls Swimming and Diving Team, which practices and competes from August to November. They also compete in USA Swimming, which has a winter season from November to March and a summer season from mid April to August. With the combination of competition time and practices, the girls, as well as anyone else competing in the three seasons, can log hundreds of hours in the pool each year.

"We definitely put a lot of time in," Sanders said.

The hard work has paid off for both swimmers. Otto is the state champion in the 100 Butterfly and took third in the 50 Freestyle, while Sanders is the regional champion in the 500 Freestyle and took second in the 200 Freestyle. Both girls have set school and conference records in multiple events, with Otto setting a state record in the 50 Freestyle.

Otto is in her sixth year, while Sanders has competed for a decade. Otto didn't start competing until she signed up for Lincoln Middle School swim team, sticking with the activity ever since.

However, Otto's love for swimming extended further back, saying she was first captivated by the sport while watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics and drew pictures of her as a swimmer. Even when taking swimming lessons, Otto said her teachers noticed her affinity for swimming, commenting on how long she could hold her breath underwater.

Sanders has competed since she was five years old. She said she's always loved being in the pool and her parents decided to have her try out for USA Swimming. Over the years, Sanders has continued swimming, with the exception of last Spring, when she decided to try playing soccer.

"Swimming is just all I've known," Sanders said.

Otto said the main aspect that keep her coming back into the pool is the rush she feels while standing on the blocks before an event starts. She plans to continue swimming in college, and aims to make the times needed for collegiate competition.

"I'm working on hitting those times," Otto said.

For Sanders, she enjoys the feeling she has when she makes the time she aims for, saying it's one of the best feelings a person can have. She said she wants to focus on breaking team records and making All-State, an achievement that eluded her during her freshman swim season last year.

"I like the challenge of it," Sanders said.


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