There is an ‘I’ in swimming: Self-reliance, determination, individualism prosper through sport

Swimming: a self-motivated, individual sport where one’s performance is based solely on their mindset and work ethic. This aspect of the sport is what makes or breaks one’s success, and for sophomore Brittany Thurstin it not only makes her, the individualistic attitude required of swimming carries over into other facets of her life.

Swimming not only makes Thurstin a better athlete, it makes her a better person, teaching her to persevere no matter what the circumstances.

“Swimming has taught me to never give up in the face of defeat, because you might go to practice so many days a week and you might not get an end result of the time you wanted,” Thurstin said. “But you can look back and say ‘I did all of this and I still got somewhere.’ You get to places that you wouldn’t normally get if you were just sitting at home on your couch.”

Though sitting at home on the couch sounds a lot more inviting, and a lot less difficult, Thurstin enjoys the challenge swimming presents.

“You have to push yourself,” Thurstin said. “You can’t rely on anybody else, you have to go out and make yourself better or you’re not going to reach the goals that you want to reach.”

Thurstin’s personal drive in swimming not only makes her successful in the sport, it gains her the attention of her fellow teammates.

“She’s self-motivated because of how independent she is, and because she’s self-motivated, it makes her a fast swimmer,” swimmer Austin Ayers said.

The primary motivation Thurstin has in swimming is her goal of competing in college, preferably on a scholarship to avoid financial stress faced by many collegiate students. However, she’s also working at achieving more short-term goals, such as those for her high school swimming career.

“[Thurstin’s] goal right now is to make the state swim meet,” swim coach Gina Rodriguez said. “She has some high goals set and they are very achievable for her. We’re looking forward to Brittany having a great year this year.”

Not only is Thurstin working toward her swimming goals, she is also trying to excel academically, aided by principles swimming has taught her.

“Swimming is an individual sport, so you don’t have anyone to rely on to pick up your slack, like teammates would in [other sports],” Thurstin said. “You know how to do your own work, you don’t have to rely on others, therefore it transfers over in your work and your schoolwork. It shows that you’re independent and you can get things done, and other people can rely on you to carry your own weight.”

Teammates on the Viking swim team see this individuality in Thurstin as well.

“Brittany is a strong individual person, which is good for swimming because it’s an individual sport based on your strength and how hard you work,” fellow swimmer Sarah Cadarette said.

Perseverance, goal setting, individualism, and athletic ability are all things that Thurstin has gained from swimming. As she prepares for her future in swimming at the collegiate level and in life, all of the assets she has learned from this sport will be sure to benefit her.