Just keep swimming

Hyper focused eyes continue to lead the Captain to her glory


Amelia Bird doing the butterfly stroke during a 500 meter race.

Abby Woloss, Opinions Editor

The alarm clock rings at 4:30 am. Rolling out of bed still groggy from the day before, she finds herself dragging her feet to the sink and splashing water upon her face to involuntarily wake up. Putting on a swim suit and packing a bag, without forgetting to grab a bar for breakfast, she drives to the aquatic center before half of the town has even begun to fully process their own thoughts.

Amelia Bird is a Junior at Heath. It is her third year of being an athlete on the school swim team. It is her 11th year of swimming for herself.

“I started swimming at the age of five at the local YMCA. My mom’s best friend was a swim coach and recommended joining the swim team.”

Being 5 and having an array of opportunities at hand was interesting to her friends, but she says she just knew swimming was what she was going to do for as long as she could.

“It was the one sport that stuck with me. Sure, I tried soccer, dance, and track, but swimming was the one thing I always loved.”

Because she has done swimming since learning to tie her shoes, the hectic schedule that swimming upholds has become second hand nature to the hopeful Olympic swimmer.

“It takes a lot to succeed in the sport of swimming. Most people don’t realize the sacrifices I have to make to swim. A normal week of swimming for me is 4 morning practices and 6 afternoon practices a week. Each practice is about 2 to 3 hours long. It averages to about 5 hours a day. I swim about 25 to 30 miles a week.”

Although she admits that the dedication to swimming can cause her to opt out of activities with friends, she admits that it’s worth it. The friends she has gained in school swim throughout the last 3 years have made it that much more enjoyable as well.

“My favorite thing about swimming is being surrounded by the people who push me to do my best every day. Our team is very close as a whole. We love being with each other and know we can always count on one another. High school swim is such an amazing experience, because you get to see all your teammates in the hall and know that they got your back.”

The moment she knew she was destined to pave a path for herself and others is not hard for her to recount. It is one of her favorite memories.

“When our high school won relay team and made state, is a moment I will never forget. Our whole team was overjoyed with excitement. That was when I realized that I can make a difference, not only for myself, but for my teammates as well.”

The dedication, sacrifices made, and relationships formed have all begun to award the eager swimmer. She proves that you really do “reap what you sow”.

“I am the first junior to ever be swim Captain at Heath. I got my title by being handpicked from past captains, my teammates votes, coach votes, and my advancement in swimming. I love being depended upon.”

For those that are around her daily, the dedication she has for the team is infectious.

“ I can speak from my own experience to say that she will always have your back in and out of the pool. It’s been an honor to train beside her, and she is truly deserving of being our captain”, said fellow teammate Darby Ratcliffe.

For the future, she does plan on attending a D1 college for swimming and majoring in engineering at the same time. It has always been a dream of hers.  She hopes that dream will become true with the help of her Olympic gold medalist coach.

“He has influenced me so much by showing me what it takes to be successful, and that I need to enjoy every moment I am given.”

Swimming is something she has done her whole life; it is all consuming. She doesn’t know where life will take her, but the one thing she knows is that swimming is what she is meant to do. She has broken records, she has been motivated enough to the point where people now know her name, and she has been determined enough to win the fight against all opponents. No one is stopping this girl from achieving all of her dreams.