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Daniella Cervantes: Conquering a Solo Sport

Sophomore+Daniela+Cervantes+practices+at+the+Debbie+Weems+Natatorium+before+school+on+Sept.+15%2C+2023.
Photo by Reese Mallett
Sophomore Daniela Cervantes practices at the Debbie Weems Natatorium before school on Sept. 15, 2023.

Every morning before school, sophomore Daniella Cervantes quickly swims back and forth in her lane, adamantly training to draw up her times. This year, she’s taking on her second year on the swim team and first full year on varsity.

Cervantes’ passion for swimming began at a young age. It began as a leisure activity until she started competitively swimming in fifth grade, bringing her hobby to an advanced level.

“I always liked being in the water as a kid. When soccer didn’t work out for me, I tried something new,” Cervantes said. “I enjoyed swimming for fun in the summer, so I gave it a shot.”

For Cervantes, balancing school, swimming, and sleep can be difficult. Her rigid morning routine limits the amount of sleep she gets every night. She sets her alarm for 4:30 a.m., leaves the house by 5, and starts practicing at 5:30. With such little sleep she often finds herself tired throughout the school day.

“I only get about seven hours of sleep. I end up being really unfocused in my second period because I start to fall asleep, and I just feel sleepy the whole day,” Cervantes said.

However, this doesn’t mean she enjoys it any less.

“I love swimming, so it doesn’t feel like a hassle to go to swim practice everyday,” Cervantes said. “My favorite part of the day is swim. It makes me feel relaxed and when I get in the pool all my problems go away.”

Along with other swimmers, Cervantes finds herself contemplative with her own times, and finds herself assessing herself to other swimmers.

“You’re always comparing yourself to other people. Knowing other people are improving faster than you are can be frustrating,” Cervantes said. “I put pressure on myself just because I want to improve more, but never too seriously.”

You’re always comparing yourself to other people. Knowing other people are improving faster than you are can be frustrating. I put pressure on myself just because I want to improve more, but never too seriously.

— Daniella Cervantes, 10

Cervantes has found a way to push her mentality in order to improve her game. When she feels unmotivated, she thinks about her team as a whole and how she wants to support them and also support herself.

“I encourage and motivate myself to do better because I know it’ll be worth putting in the work for,” Cervantes said. “The mental challenges affect not only me, but also my peers in swimming. We always support each other by giving affirmations and cheering. I give it my all knowing that my times will affect our overall placement.”

Cervantes placed in competitions earlier this year with the school and her club team. In Feb., she qualified for regionals with Legacy’s 200-meter relay team. In May, Cervantes placed first with her club team in the 200-meter freestyle, second in the 100-meter fly, and second in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Mars BC meet. Cervantes constantly works to improve her times. Her 100-meter freestyle time dropped from 1:10 to 1:07 freshman year.

“I felt very accomplished and proud of my hard work. Getting into single digits is very impressive,” Cervantes said. “Now I’ve improved even more, and I’m hoping to get under 1:03 in my next race.”

Cervantes’ boyfriend, sophomore Gavin Galasso, watches from the sidelines during her swim meets. 

“She is the most talented person I know and full of grit,” Galasso said. “When she says she has her mind set on something, I know it will be accomplished one way or another.”

Cervantes hasn’t figured out college plans yet and if she will continue swimming. But, for right now she’s focused on her swim times and health.

“My goals are to build more muscle and do cardio to improve my swimming endurance,” Cervantes said. “I’m not sure if I’ll continue in college, but for now, I want to draw up my times and improve my physical health.”

About the Contributors
Ella Geist
Ella Geist, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Ella and I’m a sophomore. I love reading and music.
Reese Mallett
Reese Mallett, Assistant Photo Editor
Hello!!! I am one of the Photo editors for this year. I love photography and working with Legacy Student Media. Waffles are better than pancakes, cats are better than dogs, and Jesus is life.
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