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Select Swimmers

Member Profile

Written by Lauren Hunsberger

Photography by Taryn Emerick

This spring, four athletes from the bellevue club swim team made elite USA swimming teams, where they honed their skills and made new friends. reflections checked in to see what kind of impact the experience made on them.

Christian Koh, 14 

Reflections magazine: What does it mean to make the 2019 Western Select Team?
Christian Koh: I did not realize the importance of it at first. However, after meeting and interacting with the fast swimmers that I raced with in the past, I realized how big of an opportunity this was for me. I felt great amounts of pride in being selected and felt honored to be a part of the team.

RM: What was your favorite memory from the Western Select meet in San Diego in June?
CK: The camp was a completely new experience for me, but the new friends I made helped make the new experience enjoyable. Meeting new friends and swimmers who were as fast, or even faster, than me was an eye opener and memorable experience.

RM: What does swimming bring to your life? What are some lessons the sport has taught you?
CK: Swimming brings stress relief, satisfaction, happiness, disappointment and pain at the same time. Swimming taught me many things that don’t always apply in the water, such as persistence, self-discipline and confidence.

RM: What has been the biggest challenge so far?
CK: The biggest challenge that I still struggle to overcome is to maintain my positive attitude despite the outcome of my race. Swimming is a sport that heavily depends on mentality, and a bad race can easily ruin that.

RM: What are your future goals for swimming?
CK: My final goal for swimming is to swim in the Olympics and win a medal for the 100-meter breaststroke.

RM: Do you have any advice for other student athletes?
CK: Some advice for my peers who strive to reach an elite level of athletics is to trust your coach, eat healthy, have fun and never give up.

Daniel Gao, 16

Reflections magazine: What does it mean to make the 2019 National Diversity Team?
Daniel Gao: It’s a huge honor to train and compete with some of the best athletes of my age group. This was my first time getting exposure to my peers who share similar aspirations as me from across the country, and I enjoyed being able to learn from others.

RM: What was your favorite memory from the National Diversity meet in Colorado Springs in May?
DG: The last practice of camp was arguably the highlight. It was a mini-duel meet between the red and blue team, and the avidity brought from the blocks to the wall for every event was palpable. Despite it being a friendly meet, the urge to win was so apparent that you could feel the voices of your teammates in the water. It was such a great atmosphere that reminded me of the Bellevue Club and an experience that will stick with me.

RM: What does swimming bring to your life? What are some lessons the sport has taught you?
DG: Swimming is a way for me to forget my troubles and focus on something I have a passion for. It’s a tranquilizer that takes my mind off school and life and puts it into something that is relaxing. I think that for all sports, perseverance is a crucial lesson. Whether it’s the ups and downs of a swim meet in particular or something long term that affects you, the belief to hold firm and follow through is a skill that applies to all situations.

RM: What has been the biggest challenge so far?
DG: My biggest challenge is definitely being consistent at dryland. I’ve been working toward building strength in the weight room, but I feel that my goal for the summer is to challenge myself in the weight room and make sure that I’m doing what’s right for my body rather than what I want to do.

RM: What are your future goals for swimming?
DG: As of right now, I’m just focusing on one step at a time. I’m always looking for improvement and ways to give myself an edge. Long term, however, it’d be great to swim in college and be able to continue a sport that I love on the next level.

RM: Do you have any advice for other student athletes?
DG: Take it one step at a time and set goals along the way that are reflective of what you’re capable of. Goals are a great way to motivate yourself to work hard and achieve beyond what you thought was possible. However, it’s also important that you are being strategic and making sure that you focus on the event that’s in front of you.

Charlie Arnold, 15

Reflections magazine: What does it mean to make the 2019 Western Select Team?
Charlie Arnold: It was an honor to be selected as I reached this milestone in my training.

RM: What was your favorite memory from the Western Select meet in San Diego in June?
CA: Finally meeting multiple elite swimmers after racing them throughout my career.

RM: What does swimming bring to your life? What are some lessons the sport has taught you?
CA: Swimming teaches me discipline and many life lessons, such as not backing down when tough challenges are put in front of you.

RM: What has been the biggest challenge so far?
CA: Balancing my academic and swimming careers.

RM: What are your future goals for swimming?
CA: Swim at the division one level in college.

RM: Do you have any advice for other student athletes?
CA: Keep a positive attitude throughout the challenges in and out of the pool.

Alex Klinck, 16

Reflections magazine: What does it mean to make the 2019 National Diversity Team?
Alex Klinck: It was truly an honor to be selected to attend the National Diversity Select Camp. To me, it felt like my swimming career was starting to take off, and all my hard work was worth it.

RM: What was your favorite memory from the National Diversity meet in Colorado Springs in May?
AK: My favorite memory of the camp was meeting so many wonderful people from across the country.

RM: What does swimming bring to your life? What are some lessons the sport has taught you?
AK: Swimming brings many wonderful things to my life, such as new friendships, opportunities to compete, as well as many life lessons, such as setting and achieving goals. The sport has taught me so many valuable skills and lessons that can be applied to everyday life. For example, I need to have good time management skills and personal responsibility because swimming takes a lot of time and makes my schedule extremely busy.

RM: What has been the biggest challenge so far?
AK: My biggest challenges so far would either be juggling schoolwork with swimming or dealing with injuries. I had to miss many practices during the past few months due to a back injury, and it was rather difficult to get back to where I was once I recovered.

RM: What are your future goals for swimming?
AK: My future goals in swimming are to make Junior Nationals cuts and to swim in college.

RM: Do you have any advice for other student athletes?
AK: Even though there will be setbacks and the path to success is very tough, stick with it because the feeling of success is so worth it in the end. Never lose sight of your goals, and do not let anybody tell you they are unreachable.

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