Not all of the Sun Devils were able to attend ASU’s first meet, as two talented female swimmers set their sights on larger goals
while competing in the 2013 FINA 10km Open Water Marathon Swimming World Cup in
Senior Tristin Baxter and freshman Anna Olasz represented the U.S. and Hungary, respectively, in one race out of eight World Cup open water races.
Baxter placed 11th and Olasz narrowly placed sixth in a photo finish, but placement was secondary to the unique learning opportunity granted to the young swimmers.
“I haven’t done too many big races, so I was just taking it in,” Baxter said.
Baxter has competed in one world cup prior to this event, but inexperience can be evident while racing against veterans who have been doing this for years, she said.
Open water swimming takes place in an ocean, lake or other body of water, and the close nature of the racing, differences in water conditions and necessity of long term focus can be grueling even for a more experienced open water competitor like Olasz.
“I was 16 when I did my first open water race, and I was the only girl on the team, so it was scary,” Olasz said. “I just wanted to show everyone I’m good at open water.”
Olasz has more than proved she is good in the open water. She was one of the youngest competitors in the race and still finished top 10.
However, more experience is necessary to do well in open water racing, as athletes can continue with the sport even beyond their college years.
“The people who are older just have more experience,” Baxter said. “You just do better when you’re older.”
This is the reason that doing these trips now. Competing with the best in the world is crucial to taking their sport to the next level while learning from those who already there, Baxter said.
“Everyone who’s in these (types of races) loves what they do,” Baxter said. “What they’re doing in their lives is all to be the best athlete they can be. It’s a good lesson.”
Learning from the world’s best and competing in an elite completion was the purpose of the trip, but experiencing another culture and seeing the world was a whole other bonus, Baxter said.
“It’s an eye opener to see how different cultures are,” Baxter said, “It’s cool that swimming gives me the opportunity to see that.”
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