The Braden River senior talks overcoming injuries and her goals for the state meet.
Kate Walker is a senior girls swimmer at Braden River High. She finished second (1:07.78) in the 100-yard breaststroke and sixth in the (25.09) in the 50-yard freestyle at the team's Class 3A regional meet Nov. 9 in Clearwater. Walker will swim at the 3A state meet Nov. 16 in Stuart.
When did you start swimming?
I started swimming competitively in sixth grade. My brother, Ryan Walker (now a senior at Drury University), swam for the Sarasota Tsunami, so I joined them, too. I am not with them anymore. I just swim on my own now.
What is the appeal to you?
I love the competition of races and challenging yourself every time in the pool. I tried a lot of sports when I was younger — lacrosse, cheerleading, cross country, volleyball. Swimming was the one that I had the most fun doing.
What is your best stroke?
Right now it is breaststroke. When I first started, it was backstroke for a season, then butterfly. When I started doing the individual medley, I got to work on my breaststroke. It improved a lot (through repetition) and now is my strength. I also like it the most.
What is your favorite memory?
It just happened, but I would say this year's regional meet. I swam a lot better than I expected and it was my last meet with my whole team. It was fun to be with and cheer with them one more time.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Injuries have gotten in my way. As a sophomore I suffered a concussion and a broken back. It took until this past offseason for me to feel 100% like myself again in the water. Plus, having to start and stop my training (because of injury setbacks) was rough. I felt like every race I had to make up for lost practice time. I feel great now, though, and I think my results are showing that.
What are your goals for the state meet?
I want to beat my personal record in the breaststroke. It is a 1:06 right now. I want to hit 1:05. I know I can do it if everything goes right.
What hobbies do you have?
I have played the cello since sixth grade, and I recently started watching YouTube videos to try to learn the piano. I also go to the beach with my friends a lot.
Which superpower would you pick?
I would want to read minds. I want to know what everyone is thinking all the time. That would be interesting.
What is your dream vacation?
I do not have a specific location, but it would be cool to go to a snowy cabin for a while and go skiing or snowboarding.
What is the best advice you have received?
You get out what you put in. I would tell myself that during all the time I spent trying to get back in the water. I had to keep working hard.
Finish this sentence: "Kate Walker is … "
… Amazing. I have amazed myself with how I have swam this season and I know I have a lot more in me.