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Article Published October 15, 2020

Young Swimming to Success as a Sophomore

By By Dean Bibens

It didn’t take long for Grace Young to make her presence felt on the girls’ swimming and diving team at Guilford High School. After enjoying a great debut campaign as a freshman, Grace is seeing success in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley in her sophomore season this fall.

“I’ve been swimming for five years since I moved to Guilford in the 5th grade,” says Grace. “I went to the YMCA for fun, and the head coach at the time approached my mom, asking if I wanted to swim for the club team. I ended up joining, and that is how I got into swimming.”

Swimming has become a passion for Grace, and she focuses a lot of energy on improving her skills in the pool. Grace likes swimming because it’s a sport where both individuals and teams have a chance to succeed.

“I love how, even though you swim for a team, there is also a personal aspect to the sport. For example, you can work on reaching your own personal goals, and you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself at the same time,” Grace says. “I tend to overthink and get stressed about my races, and being part of a swim community has taught me that swimming is more than just racing for myself. I’m racing for the girls on my team.”

Guilford Head Coach Jenn Amasino has been working with Grace ever since the sophomore started swimming. Amasino admires how Grace is always striving to become a better swimmer and knows that she’s one of key reasons why Guilford has started its season with a mark of 2-0.

“Grace has a tremendous work ethic and never misses a practice,” says Amasino. “In order to be one of the top swimmers in the state, you have to be willing to make sacrifices and make a commitment, in addition to working hard. Grace understands the importance of that and never misses a practice. As a coach, it is very rewarding to see her smile and be filled with excitement after a good swim, knowing that all her hard work paid off.”

Grace says that Coach Amasino always pushes her to do her best at both practice and in Guilford’s meets. Grace gets a boost when she hears Amasino cheering for her from the pool deck during her events.

“She’s coached me ever since I started swimming, and she’s always helped me to be more positive and put the bad swims in the past,” Grace says of Amasino. “I always remember her telling me to, ‘Get out of your comfort zone,’ and that always motivates me to push myself when I swim.”

Grace maintains her form by swimming six days a week on a year-round basis. Grace also feels that having a positive attitude is one of the biggest factors behind her success as a swimmer.

“Honestly, when you go into a meet, it’s all about supporting each other,” Grace says. “You could be having bad swims that day, but regardless, getting out of the pool and cheering for your teammates always promotes positivity.”

For the past two years, Grace has been working hard to qualify for the YMCA Nationals in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke. Grace has come within less than a second of making it to the national level and is hoping to qualify this year.

In terms of her high school team, Grace understands that the 2020 season is a much-different one than usual. However, Grace still thinks that Guilford can produce the same type of impressive results that the team did last year.

“So far, we have won both of the meets we’ve had this season, and I have hope that we will win a few more before the season is over,” says Grace. “We had a few more girls join the team, and I am confident that we’ll be able to bring home a winning season again this year.”