BY ERIN SZABLEWSKI —
Rachel Munson, senior, and Kristin Malone, 2014 alumnus, recently competed in the 2014 Speedo Junior National Championships. The competition was held in Irvine, California on July 30 through August 3 and is the biggest and most competitive meet for swimmers 18 and under across the nation.
Munson qualified in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. She took 6th in the 100 with a time of 1:10.19, and 21st in the 200 with a time of 2:36.89.
Malone qualified in the 100-meter breaststroke and 100, 200 and 400 meter freestyles. In the 100 breaststroke she took 81st with a time of 1:14.37, in the 100 freestyle 26th with a time of 57.07, in the 200 freestyle she took 30th with a time of 2:03.71, and in the 400 she took 84th with a time of 4:28.90.
Both swimmers and their coach, Dave Westfahl, agreed that a rigorous training regimen was needed to perform this well at such a competitive meet.
“In order to succeed at this meet I practiced once, even twice a day, and gave 100% all the time. And at the meet you have to be confident, you have to know you belong,” Munson said. According to Munson, it would be easy to feel you don’t belong in a meet with such high level swimmers, but the key to performing is knowing how to be comfortable.
Malone said that the type of training they do also has factored into their performance. Over their years with the Shorewood Swim Club, the two have been doing progressive training, which is designed to prepare swimmers for the collegiate level. This year, Malone will be taking this training to Texas A&M, which is currently ranked 3rd in Division I women’s swimming.
According to Westfahl, Munson and Malone had a sense of maturity at the meet because both have competed at Junior National meets before, which has given them valuable experience. Aside from knowing what to expect, the swimmers knew their competition better as well.
Competing against swimmers from all over the nation can be challenging, according to Munson and Malone, but over the past years they have made friends from other teams around the nation, which prepares them for their future in collegiate swimming.