Getting Into The Swim Of Things – The Story of Swimmer Ola Wozniak


Keaton Shaffer, Staff Writer

Most people see swimming as a relaxing recreation, often when the weather is warm and watermelon is in season. But for competitive swimmer Ola Wozniak, the activity isn’t solely leisure, and it most definitely isn’t just seasonal. For Wozniak, swimming is a skill that she is constantly improving.

“There’s a lot of practice. It’s every morning and every afternoon and then Saturdays too. So just balancing that with school gets really hard.”

But the amount of time she puts in is necessary. Wozniak swims not only for the school, but for the Lewisville-based Lakeside Aquatic Club as well. With both of these responsibilities, Wozniak has faced challenges that plague many student athletes: finding the time and energy for her other obligations, like school work.

“It’s not hard to do the work, but I just don’t have the motivation to do my homework after I get home from practice,” Wozniak said. “That’s the worst part because it’s just very hard on your mental health and makes you feel more stressed.”

In the pool, too, Wozniak is tested to keep putting more and more effort into improving, even when it feels like she’s already doing her best. 

“During practice, I sometimes tell myself that I’m trying hard, but, like, I’m not trying as hard as I can. So just actually trying hard is difficult sometimes,” Wozniak said.

But what Wozniak puts into her sport is rewarded back to her tenfold. Swimming offers her a chance to participate in engaging competitions, the outcomes of which are often very exciting.

“I feel like it is hard because you have to work hard the whole time. But then it’s also fun because whenever you try really hard, you do good at a race or even just at practice. It’s just really rewarding,” Wozniak said.

Wozniak also credits swimming for giving her a much needed break to socialize with her teammates, with whom she’s created many strong relationships.

“That’s when I spend the most time with my friends,” Wozniak said. “I’ve met all my close friends through swimming.”

In fact, Wozniak was first introduced to swimming by family friends, and her older sister began swimming soon after. However, Wozniak wasn’t as interested, as swimming lessons she’d taken prior hadn’t exactly inspired her.

“So we have these two family friends [who] started swimming, and since we were close with them, they were talking about how much they liked it,” Wozniak said. “So then my sister started swimming too, because she thought it would be fun.”

Wozniak later decided to give it a try, taking the chance on a sport that would change her life.

“I started a little bit later because I didn’t really like lessons when I was younger, so I didn’t learn as well as my sister,” she said.

But Wozniak didn’t let her late arrival set her back. She put in two times the work to get to where she aspired to be.

“I had to take private lessons with one of the coaches to actually learn all four strokes. And then, I tried out for my club team. I think I was 7,” she said.

Wozniak has remained a swimmer since then, and it is now one of her greatest passions. She typically competes middle distance in the freestyle stroke, and this year hopes that she can help FMHS secure victories at districts and regionals.