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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Artist Next Door: Swimming a sport and an art

    UA swimmer Lindsey Kelly practices at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
    UA swimmer Lindsey Kelly practices at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

    Lindsey Kelly has always had an insatiable passion for the water.

    “”My goal has always been to have more fun, because swimming fast is fun,”” the senior elementary education major said.

    Kelly began competitively swimming when she was six years old.

    “”My mom gave me an option that I could do swim team that one summer or I absolutely had to the next summer,”” she said. “”I was like, ‘Well, I already like being in the pool, so I might as well do it,’ and I was hooked from day one.””

    Kelly’s swimming journey brought her to the UA swim team, where her main events are the 50- and 100-meter freestyle. Her sophomore year, Kelly was a three-time All-American at the NCAA Championships, as well as part of two American record-setting relays. Her junior year, the team won the National Championship. Overall, Kelly’s swimming triumphs have shown her that the same concepts she used to succeed in the water extend into other areas of her life.

    “”It’s taught me a lot about real value and meaning of commitment,”” Kelly said.

    “”Especially working with our coaching staff, you kind of learn that failing isn’t an option – that you never fail, you just have little bumps in the road, and you just use those as experiences and you build off of them.””

    Under the guidance of head coach Frank Busch, Kelly says the swimmers have become less of a sports team and more like a family.

    “”Frank is an amazing person, more than just a coach,”” Kelly said. “”He teaches you more than how to just be a good swimmer. He teaches you how to be your best coach, and lessons that you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.””

    But there’s another pin holding the team together. Sprint coach Rick DeMont, who team members call “”Rocket,”” is more than just a coach – he’s the team’s artistic director.

    “”Since I’ve started working with Rocket, he does help you understand the art aspect of our sport,”” Kelly said. “”He’s actually an artist and he always looks at swimming and each individual as its own piece, and you’re constantly working to make a masterpiece. So every time you do something with technique or head position, or body position, streamline, it’s all to make you the best you can be so you have that finished fine-tuned machine, as he calls it, at the end of the season when you really need to go fast.””

    The team will be put to the test as they leave for the Texas Invite on Dec. 3, where they will get all of their qualifying standards for NCAA Championships in March. Even with the pressure, Kelly keeps everything in perspective.

    “”Every pool is the same,”” she said. “”It’s just in a different place.””

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