While most SJS students are waking up for school, sophomore Elena Skaribas is finishing a grueling swim practice that started at 5:45 a.m. at the Dad’s Club, a member of the competitive United States Swimming Association
“It’s funny because in the beginning, I hated swimming,” Skaribas said. “All my friends were better, but as I became more committed, I became a lot faster.”
Skaribas won two state competitions at age ten, qualified for Texas championships eight times and cinched two Gulf Championships.
As her swimming improved, the demands became greater.
“I have practice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and after-school practice everyday but Sunday,” Skaribas said.
Balancing swimming with school work is often a challenge, but Skaribas maintains a positive outlook.
“Having such a busy schedule has actually helped my time management skills; I make an effort to finish all work and be in bed by 10:30,” Skaribas said.
In addition to swimming at Dad’s Club, Elena is also part of the SJS swim team.
“At SJS, the team is what’s important, and I really appreciate the support I receive from my teammates and coaches,” Skaribas said.
During the summer, Elena attends swim camp at the University of Texas.
“It’s very intense,” Skaribas said. “Each day we meet and swim with Olympic athletes; it’s so inspiring and humbling. Once, I asked Aaron Peirsol to wear my sunglasses for our picture and he did.”
The intense training comes in handy when Skaribas competes in events like the 50,100 and 200 meter freestyle and the 100 and 200 meter backstroke.
Junior Austin Allday, a fellow team member at the Dad’s Club, said, “Elena is a super dedicated and hard-working swimmer. I really envy both her talent and her work ethic.”
Though she has had great success at many of her competitions, Skaribas still strives for more.
“I have meetings with my coaches to discuss my goals and my progress as a swimmer, and I recently joined NCSA, a recruiting program,” Skaribas said. “A definite long-term goal is to compete in college.”