Natalia Strezenicky is a junior who attends Pine View School, but represents Sarasota High in girls swimming. Strezenicky, who also swims for the Sarasota Tsunami club team, won the 500 yard freestyle (5:03.20) at Sarasota's Class 4A district meet, held Oct. 27 at Selby Aquatic Center.
How did you get into swimming?
I started swimming because of my older brother (René Strezenicky). He was a swimmer and I followed in his footsteps. I started to like it.
What is the appeal to you?
It helps me get my energy out for the day. If I sit at home I get bored. I also get to see all my friends. It's just fun.
What is your favorite stroke?
Freestyle. I think that's because it is my best stroke. And within that, I like the 500 yard swim and the mile swim. I'm a distance person. I just find my pace and go.
What is the hardest part of distance swims?
The mental aspect for sure. Sometimes you look around and see all the people ahead of you. That can put you down. But I have learned to focus on myself and my own race. It will work out in the end.
What is your goal time for regionals and states?
Definitely to hit 4:55.00 in the 500 freestyle. That's my best time. I'd like to get there for regionals and then do even better at states.
What is your favorite food?
I love pasta, like chicken Alfredo. It is usually my pre-race dinner.
What is your favorite TV show?
Honestly I don't think I have one. I like pretty much everything.
What are your hobbies?
I like going to the beach with my friends. We'll walk around and try new ice cream shops while we're there. I think coffee-flavored ice cream is my favorite.
What is your favorite school subject?
I'm still trying to figure that out this year. I don't like math, though, and after taking chemistry last year, I'm never taking that again. (Laughs.)
What is the best advice you have received?
Focus on yourself. I already said that, but it's true. Do your own thing and swim your own race. I'll think of a song to sing to myself or think about what I'm going to eat afterwards. Anything to keep my mind off what others are doing.
Finish this sentence: "Natalia Strezenicky is … "
Fun. I think that's a good one.