Stephanie swims to victory

Stephanie+are+her+friends+dive+into+the+pool+daily+for+practice.+After+eight+years+of+dedication+to+the+sport+Stephanie+has+been+able+to+work+two+jobs+and+make+new+friends.+%E2%80%9CI+am+so+lucky+to+have+such+amazing+opportunities+in+my+life%2C%E2%80%9D+Hong+said.%0APhoto+courtesy+of+Stephanie+Hong.

Bao, Jenna Xu

Stephanie are her friends dive into the pool daily for practice. After eight years of dedication to the sport Stephanie has been able to work two jobs and make new friends. “I am so lucky to have such amazing opportunities in my life,” Hong said. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hong.

Yasmine Guedira , News Chief

Stephanie Hong, 11, has been swimming for eight years, and she currently holds two jobs, one with The Marlins and one with Five Seasons.

Q: When did you first start swimming?
A: When I was eight I started swimming in Bloomington Swim Club in Indiana. I started swimming because my mom wanted to put me in a sport that I would be able to do for a long time. In that community, swimming was a really big deal. I have been swimming since then.

Q: Where do you work?
A: I work with both the Marlins and Five Seasons. My first job was at Five Seasons. I got the job because I am a member there and I saw an advertisement that described how they needed help for their summer club. With those connections I was able to get a job. The Marlins job was a random opportunity. My mom got an email to help out with the younger swimmers. The goal of the job is to help swimmers with their strokes and to provide them with a role model.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: My job is awesome because there is such wide variety of skill levels and personality types in the program. You get to adjust your instruction to each kid, and it makes my job really fun.

Q: In what ways has swimming impacted your life?
A: The single-minded focus. You spend two hours of looking at a black line at the bottom of the pool, so over time a lot of people lose that external motivation. It’s just you and the pool and the water. It has made me realize that it’s not about the crowd, it’s about what you are able to accomplish. It’s just you and the black line, and that teaches you how to focus.

Q: What kept you motivated to keep swimming over the years?
A: Swimming is the only sport that I have been doing so when I stop I have too much empty time. The people that are there are so important to me that I look forward to seeing them every practice.
I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I stopped swimming. After losing it, I realized how important it was in my life.