Abbie Alton: Young, Wild and Freestyle

It was Abbie Alton’s friends that pulled her into the water, but despite her success, it was the way the water made her feel that kept her there. Alton began swimming on her neighborhood’s summer league team at age 9 much to her mother’s irritation at forfeiting her summer months to swim practice. She finally gave in just to be sucked into the world of year-round swimming by her eager daughter. Alton said she when she first heard about the prospect, she decided she wanted to be “part of this party all the time.” Her mother expected Alton to give up the sport eventually since it required such a significant commitment with few breaks, and yet nine years after joining her friends on the neighborhood team, she found herself decked in orange as a member of the Division I University of Tennessee Swimming and Diving Team. Then the summer after she graduated having spent four years on the team, she made the trip to Omaha, Neb., to compete in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle Olympic Trial events. Now Alton spends summer days paying her experience forward by teaching and coaching the next generation of swimmers on the same team on which she began, and during the school year, she holds a position as assistant high school swim coach. Much the same way Alton thrived in the intense waters of competitive swimming, she relishes the opportunity to spend more time in the water teaching others about her favorite pastime. And yet, none of these were dreams she envisioned prior to her sophomore year of high school when her coach at Swim Atlanta first expressed how impressed he was with Alton’s talent for swimming. She said, “[Chris] was the first one to actually believe in me and make me think I was alright.” But even then she was not fully convinced. “I don’t think I actually though I was good until like my senior year,” Alton said. Throughout her career, she remained rooted in the raw excitement of the sport and her connection to the water regardless of her capabilities. “I like the way my body feels in the water. It makes me feel strong and relaxed and powerful and at peace all at the same time… I like clocks. I like that it’s my own race. It’s all on me.”

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2 thoughts on “Abbie Alton: Young, Wild and Freestyle

  1. theshandacrowe Post author

    This was split into paragraphs even when I previewed it… I’m not sure what happened, but now that it has been posted, I can’t edit it.

    Reply

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