Life of an Athlete: Caroline Strolic

Life of an Athlete: Caroline Strolic

Marin Carter, Staff Writer

High school athletes are either on practice schedules that call for once a week or twice a day. While some think it to be too much, others love the sport they play.

One NDP swimmer, junior Caroline Strolic, is on the intensely competitive side of the spectrum with only one day off a week from practice. She loves it.

It takes a lot to be a serious swimmer as Strolic shared her schedule– she practices before school at 5:00am Mon/Wed/Fri, after school everyday from 3:30-5:30pm and on Sat. from 6:30-8:30 am. That is a total of 15 hours a week (not including meets).

Dig Photo/yearbook teacher and mother to Caroline, Mrs. Strolic, said when Caroline does not have morning practice, she has to swim at 5:00 am in her endless pool. Sunday is her only day off.

Strolic began swimming when she was four, and won her first ribbon at six, but she was not always a natural as her mom said, “when she stared she looked like a big bug struggling in the water (it was the pink goggles) and the too-large suit.”

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Caroline showing off her purple suit and pink goggles (Strolic)

Though swim is incredibly demanding, Strolic said, “I swim because I love it, I can’t really think of a time I have ever felt pressured to swim. I can’t imagine my life without it, so that’s how I keep going.”

Junior swimmer Sam Tabor, who has been swimming since she was seven, added, “I’ve been doing it so long that it has become a part of my life. It has taught me teamwork, patience and that a positive attitude can really make a difference.”

Since it is important to have a good support system, Strolic’s mom said, “We go to all of her meets, make sure she has the technical suits needed to succeed, bring her to Olympic Trials, have her take swim lessons with Olympians and tell her that not many girls her age would sacrifice as much as she has.”

Caroline added, “My family supports me so much, they understand school is more important than swim and they help me when I’m mentally/physically/emotionally exhausted.”

Training so intensely has its obstacles as there are occasions where it has been too much for Caroline– her mom said “There are times when she does work too hard. For example, she went to the AZ Swimming Senior State Championship last weekend with a serious case of the flu. The funny thing is, she didn’t add as much as she expected to her personal bests. Still, Mom stepped in and pulled her from the meet.

“There are periods of  hard training where the team swims 16,000 yards a day, but several days before big and important meets, she tapers and swims less. It is worth it. She’s focused and has a good sense of self-worth and sets goals for herself,” she finished.

Both Strolics think being involved in a competitive sport has a lot to teach athletes. Caroline said, “Swimming teaches you time management skills, so school has never been a problem. There are some days where I’ll have a lot of homework, but I’m really good with time, so I’ve never been overwhelmed.”

Her mom added, “[Caroline] has learned how to succeed and fail. After being in the top of her age group for 5 years, Caroline had a dry spell where she did not drop time for 2.5 years. Many teenagers would have given it up. Caroline merely worked harder and broke this dry spell.”

Tabor said, “when I first started out high school season freshman year. I hated Caroline at first! She was so good at swimming that I let preconceived notions get in my way. I thought she was going to be conceited and very in-your-face with her abilities.

“The more i got to know her, the more I realized I had been wrong. Caroline is honestly such an amazing athlete, but more than that she’s an amazing person. I’ve never met someone more humble with their achievements (and with her, that’s a long list!).”

Tabor finished by sweetly saying, “Caroline has grown to be my best friend, and it really all is thanks to swimming.” It really does create strong bonds and relationships that are irreplacable.

Caroline plans on continuing with swim in college and said, “college swimming is considered the best years of a swimming career, so I’m really excited.”

According to Mrs. Strolic, “Several colleges on the East Coast are interested in having Caroline on their teams.”
Caroline finished up by saying, “There are some days when it feels like too much, but I know it will help me in the long run.” With lots of passion and the right support, the training is all worth it.