From Skoogles to Speedos, swim has changed my life


Gazebo Photo by Haley Ellison

Freshman Athena Leskovics is ready to start her high school swim career

I put on my first pair of skoogles (a type of goggles) and hopped right into the world of swimming. 

Swim has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played soccer and basketball when I was younger and I even played piano. I tried gymnastics out but my mom said after two lessons she knew gymnastics was not my sport. We soon realized that swim was my true calling. 

I started lessons with Julie Bragg at just 18 months old and later joined Swim Macon. I started out in pre-comp, and then I eventually joined the Bronze team at Swim Macon at age 6. This was when I started competing. 

Once I joined the Bronze team they wanted me to start competing. Competitions were intimidating to me at first. My first swim meet was at the Griffin Gators swim club. My mom and I were thrown into an entirely new environment. I distinctly remember having no idea how to put a swim cap on or how to write down my heats and events.  

It was extremely overwhelming but we soon got the hang of it. Years later, I can safely say we have conquered swim caps and heats. As the years went by I moved up in groups and earned medals, trophies and ribbons. I sadly outgrew my beloved skoogles and began wearing my beloved light-blue speedo goggles. 

At age 8, I got my name on the record board at Swim Macon and the first of many first-place trophies. It was quite the year. As I got older, my relationship with swim became rocky and uncertain. Swimming year-round and never getting a break was exhausting. The six practices a week during the school year and 10 practices a week during the summer began to drain me. 

Nevertheless I powered through and discovered my love for long-distance events. I swam my first 500 freestyle (20, grueling laps) and qualified for state. This was certainly not my first time qualifying for state, but I was shocked I qualified my first attempt swimming it. I was overjoyed and began swimming the 500 every chance I got. 

Seventh grade rolled around, and I decided it was going to be my year and had an insanely good swim season. I was up swimming with the top girls in the state of Georgia in my age group and it felt good. Soon summer came and I took a lot of time off, this really affected me my eighth grade year. 

All of eighth grade I had a rough time getting myself to go to swim and did not have a great season. All through Middle School I swam for Stratford and Swim Macon. I recently started the ninth grade, so now I will be swimming for Stratford as a high-schooler. High school swim season is starting up and the first meet is Friday November 15. I have given myself the personal goal of attempting to become the first girl at Stratford to qualify for GHSA state before I graduate. 

 This year I have slowly but surely started the exhausting journey to get myself closer to my goal. Swim has taught me so many valuable lessons and given me some really amazing relationships with coaches and friends who have impacted me over the years. 

I am forever grateful for swim and could not imagine my life without it.