There were many moments in my swimming career when I thought, “How is it that a very normal girl like me can step up on a racing block and turn into a gold medal swimmer who broke a world record?” If I can do it, anyone can do it!I grew up swimming in New Jersey, and my career started at the age of 10. By the age of 13, I was attending my very first Senior National competition out in California—a Jersey-girls’ dream come true! I was always drawn to the West Coast, and when looking for colleges, the move to USC in Los Angeles seemed only natural. I loved the weather, the people, and the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. There’s something very special about Southern Californian’s and to their innate connection to the water.
It was here, at USC, that I found my groove as an athlete. I racked up a couple of NCAA titles throughout my 4-years competing for the University. The college and swim team environment was where I learned how to work as a team—holding my teammates up and allowing them to do the same for me. I learned how to approach a competition more invested in my team and teammates than in my own outcome. It was here that I trained with the best coaches and teammates who came from all around the world to train under Dave Salo. Southern California was the place I called home after my 2 trips to the Olympics in 2008 & 2012.
My swimming career was a great one, and I look back on it fondly! I’m very proud of the medals and great moments, both in the pool and out. Beyond that, I’m happy for all that swimming brought into my life. Though I am no longer competing, you can still find me in the water—adventuring the ocean and soaking up all its majesty. Swimming is not just a sport, it’s a total lifestyle—one that I would never want to be without!