Ten Questions with Regina McCarter: MODG Swimmer
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Regina McCarter, an MODG 11th grader from Pennsylvania, was interviewed by VOX Reporter Abby Lovold, about competitive swimming.
How long have you been swimming, and when did you start competing?
I started taking swim lessons when I was 3, and I joined a swim team when I was 5. I started competing year-round when I was 11.
Where do you swim?
I swim for TOPS, which is a USA centered swim team located at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. It’s a huge team, there’s well over 200 swimmers.
How many times a week do you practice, and what is each practice like?
I practice 5-6 times a week. My team has a 7 day rotating practice schedule. For example, on Monday we’ll focus on IM and prime (your best stroke) and Tuesday will be distance freestyle. The next week, Sunday will be IM/prime and Monday will be distance. Each practice focuses on different aspects of swimming. I don’t think I’ve ever done the same practice twice, but sometimes the coaches reuse certain sets.
What are some things you love most about swimming?
One of the things I love most about swimming is the individuality. I train with a team and we all do the same workout, but in order to get something out of it, one has to put effort forth and you can’t rely on your teammates to pick up the slack for you. It’s very much an individual sport. On a completely different spectrum, I love the team aspect. At our big championship meets, everyone gets up and cheers for everyone else and it’s really exciting and motivating and a lot of fun.
Is there a specific stroke you like the most?
I like backstroke the most because you’re on your back the whole time so you don’t have to hold your breathe at all, which is something all the other strokes require. Plus it’s my best stroke.
What is the most challenging part of being a swimmer?
The most challenging parts about being a swimmer is how easy it is to get out of shape and how difficult it is to stay motivated. Swimming isn’t like any other sport in the sense that you can’t just go a few weeks without swimming and then hop in the pool and expect to swim fast, or even well. You have to be consistent in your training otherwise you won’t improve, and when you don’t improve it becomes hard to want to show up to practice every day.
What is your inspiration to swim?
I get my inspiration from swimming from Olympians, or just really fast, accomplished swimmers. It doesn’t really matter who they are, but it keeps me thinking that I could do that too, if I work hard enough. I could go to States and Nationals if I want to. It helps a lot on the days where I don’t want to go to practice.
Have you ever won any medals in your competitions?
I’ve won quite a few medals and trophies. I actually just got 3rd in the 500 free at one of my high school meets a few weeks ago and I got a trophy for that.
Are there any swimmers you look up to?
I definitely look up to swimmers like Katie Ledecky and Lilly King, but I look up to swimmers my age as well, especially my own teammates.
What has swimming taught you outside of the pool?
Swimming has taught me self discipline more than anything else, since it’s such an individual sport. I’ve developed a bit of a ‘just be quiet and do it’ attitude. Swimming requires you to be focused and hard working at all times, and I take those skills with me even when I’m not swimming, like in school and other activities. It’s helped me a lot.