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Prior continues making splash
Everyone's life changes during the years spent in college. You learn to balance school and extra-curricular activities, all the while trying to have a little fun and not lose your mind. Willows High graduate Christa Prior is no exception, having learned to balance a busy schedule with something many people dream of - being a collegiate athlete.
Since transferring from Shasta College to the University of Hawaii at Manoa last year, she has worked diligently on becoming a top-tier swimmer, and will be a senior next year, but that is hardly the end of the line in an already long career. So does any of this constant pressure get to her? "It takes hard work to be a student athlete at this level, but I really enjoy it," Prior said.
Constant progress is what keeps her so dedicated to the sport she has been participating in since she was 16 years old. Without improvement in the right direction, Prior says she would not be at the level she is at now and would not consider continuing on with her career after college.
But because she finds herself always growing and improving, swimming will have a place in her life for a while longer. "My swimming has been taken to a whole new level here at University of Hawaii. There have been many stepping stones that I have climbed so far, and there are many left," Prior remarked.
That's not to say that those stepping stones have been without accomplishments.
Prior has achieved much, beating her timed personal bests in the 200-backstroke as well as the 200-freestyle and 100-freestyle to boot. She favors swimming the backstroke, and is so quick that during relays she is either the first to go or the anchor (the last) because of her speed.
Prior's personal highlights include making her 200-backstroke Olympic trial cut and her 100-backstroke Olympic trial cut, as well as being made the team captain.
While she enjoys placing in her own events and improving on her own times, Prior says that she and her teammates never lose sight of the fact that they are a team and in it together. The mentality of always being there for your team is undoubtedly why she was granted the honor of becoming the team captain this year. It's an honor she is very humbled by and which is also rare. No transfer student has ever been made the women's team captain before Prior.
At this juncture, she has seen the payoff of hard work and has set her goals accordingly. One current goal she has set is to get more International meet experience. "Such high level meets test you, give you needed practice competing at a higher level and ultimately make you a better swimmer," Prior explained.
She would also like to qualify for the NCAA in an effort to go to the NCAA national competition and get a chance to compete to be an All-American, and this is her last year to make the cut. Such meets are where the highest-level athletes from the highest-level schools from all over the country compete against one another. It's essentially the equivalent of the BCS title game for swimmers.
Besides her college-related goals, Prior has the 2012 Olympic trials on her mind as well. She would like to place in the trial cuts, the last of which are the end of June and the first week of July. If she does well in her trial cuts, she plans on continuing her life as a swimmer for at least another four years.
Prior is soft-spoken, polite and even though she carries a demanding load, had time to mention her love for her hometowns' swim team. She hopes that the community will continue supporting the Willows swimming program because without it, someone might miss out on the opportunities that it provided for her.
Despite being an ocean away, Prior remains rooted in the community that helped her realize her goals and dreams.
CONTACT Emily Saint-Evens at 824-7990 or email@example.com.