Going for gold

“If you asked me… 12-15 years ago what I thought about swimming, I probably would have said, ‘Swimming? Haha, I hate swimming…’ When I was younger I disliked swimming so much that I would get kicked out of practice on purpose or tell the coaches I had to leave early and go hang out in the showers for the next one and [a] half hours until my mom picked me up. I never imagined that swimming would lead me through all the challenges, relationships, memories and accomplishments it has today.”

These were the words of Amanda Croix, ’11, in an interview conducted last year before her graduation from Carthage. What came to follow was a chain of unexpected events that has not only expanded her list of accomplishments and broadened her horizons, but has also made swimming an important factor that continues to change her life.

Like all seniors preparing to take their first steps outside Carthage’s walls, Croix searched for employment opportunities that would make her exercise and sports science degree worthwhile. She continued to keep swimming a part of her life, attending and assisting with swim camps during the summer. It was not long until she received a phone call with a job offer that was prestigious yet far from home: West Point Military Academy.

Despite receiving offers in warmer regions of the nation, Croix accepted the position at West Point and has established herself in New York as a coach and recruiter. “It’s a lot different than normal college,” she states. “The kids have to be in formation at a certain time, they have mandatory dinners, designated military training. It’s a very strict schedule.”

Because of her schedule, working out every day became a challenge, requiring her to wake up at 4:50 a.m. most days. The adjustment to military lifestyle had put a halt on her training, making it more of an occasional occurrence rather than a strict commitment. But whatever workouts she managed to fit in, it was just enough. After participating in a swim meet more for fun than anything else, she realized her potential for qualification in the Olympic Time Trials. She swam a 26.90 in the 50-freestyle, not far from the 26.39 required to qualify.

“I wondered what would happen if I trained more so I started taking my training more seriously after the trip [to the meet],” she states.

After two and a half weeks, Croix attended another meet where she swam a qualifying time of 26.34, just barely sneaking in. Now she plans to train for the next four months in preparation for the trials this summer. She states, “I will basically start building a base for myself again, focusing on functional things to get back in shape like weight lifting and power and explosiveness.”

As of now, Croix is enjoying the new lifestyle in New York and the military world. She has thoughts of returning to school to receive her nursing degree, the medical field being something she has always been interested in. “It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been really interesting and eye-opening working under a military schedule and having this opportunity…What’s really interesting though is that just a year ago in the interview I was only joking about coming out of retirement to train and make a comeback, and now I’m actually training for the Olympic Trials. It’s just funny how things work out.” With Croix’s focus newly directed, there is no saying where swimming might take her this time.

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