Riverview senior Taylor Katz has been swimming since grade school. She says she’s driven by her naturally competitive nature. After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Florida and continue swimming. This week, she tells the Sarasota Observer about her dedication to the sport and her recent trip to the Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb.
How did you first start swimming?
I was taking swim lessons in my grade school, and we got rained out one time, so I sat with the swim team, and I really liked them. So, I started swimming, and I liked it.
What made you decide to stick with swimming?
I’m very competitive. I don’t like getting beat, so every meet, when I would get beat, I wanted to go back out there and win. Swimming is one way for me to let out my competitive nature.
What has been your biggest learning experience?
Going to the Olympic trials this year. It was amazing. It was the biggest meet I’ve ever been to, and all the fastest people in the nation were there; it was crazy. And they had the nicest pool.
How did you do?
I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but I had been injured, and at one point, my coach told me I wouldn’t even be able to go, so I was just happy to be there.
How has swimming transferred into your everyday life?
Just being on the team has taught me to work hard, and not just in the pool. It helps me work hard in school and at work, too. The work ethic carries over.
What sets swimming apart from other sports?
Probably the time and dedication it takes. We spend about 21 or 22 hours every week practicing, and we practice nine or 10 times a week, plus our dry-land stuff.
How early do you have to wake up?
I usually get up at 4 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Saturdays, we start a little later. I’ve kind of learned to be a morning person. Now, when I sleep in, it’s only until about 7 a.m.
How would you describe yourself as a swimmer?
I would say I’m hard working. I have to practice. If I miss one practice, I get out of my groove.
What advice would you give to young swimmers?
Don’t worry about anyone else. Just focus on yourself and getting better.
What’s the most difficult aspect of swimming?
Probably that there are a lot of things that you have to miss out on. My three brothers swim, too, and my family probably doesn’t do as many things as we would, otherwise. Now, we travel to swim meets and we usually call that a vacation.