Emily Anderson doesn’t come from what one would call a swimming family. Her mother, Marret, doesn’t swim. As for her father, Richard, Emily said, “He’s not a good swimmer.”
That leaves Emily. “I just kind of started my own tradition,” she said.
A long journey that began eight years ago with swimming lessons and a suggestion that she try out for a swimming club has taken Emily Anderson far. The Shoreham-Wading River High School senior will compete in her fourth state meet on Friday at Ithaca College. The trials will be held that day, with the finals scheduled for Saturday. Anderson will swim the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley.
It has already been a big month for Anderson. The 17-year-old Wading River resident signed a national letter of intent for the University of Massachusetts last week.
“I could not stop smiling,” she said. “It was so exciting and so relieving to know that I have a place to go next year.”
Anderson had also considered two other NCAA Division I schools, George Mason and James Madison.
“The team and the coach were just above and beyond amazing,” said Anderson.
The same might be said of Anderson’s performance in the 100-yard breaststroke in the Section XI Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Nov. 7. She cut through the water to finish 3/10ths of a second off her personal-best time and grab first place for the second straight year. Her time was 1 minute 5.93 seconds.
The runner-up, Elizabeth Park of Half Hollow Hills, was timed in 1:08.19.
In the 200-yard individual medley, Anderson finished fourth in 2:12.08, behind Angelina Harris of Miller Place (2:10.56), Rachel Kuenzler of Harborfields (2:10.92) and Jessica Fruend of Sachem East (2:11.43). Keelyn Friberg of Shoreham-Wading River was 17th in 2:23.81.
“It’s been really good so far,” Anderson said. “I’ve been really happy with my results so far.”
Friberg also swam in the 100-yard freestyle, coming in 29th in 59.02. Another Shoreham swimmer, Nichole Visintin, was 33rd in 59.43.
Shoreham-Wading River ranked 16th among 26 scoring teams in the meet with 35 points. Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point was first with 246 1/2.
Anderson trains with the Three Village Swim Club. A typical day for her involves two to three hours of practice. Twice a week she does cross-fit training for an hour before hitting the water.
What has been the biggest change in Anderson as a swimmer over the past 12 months?
“Probably my attitude, honestly,” she said. “I’ve learned to be less stressed out about everything and have more fun with it.”
After the school season, Anderson has some other big meets on her calendar. She will compete with her club team in December in Pennsylvania. Then, in March, she has the junior nationals in Florida.
Anderson said she enjoys meeting people over the course of her travels and is enjoying swimming more than ever. She said she couldn’t have imagined eight years ago that she would be where she is now.
“It’s the only sport that I’ve truly fallen in love with,” she said. She added, “Swimming has done amazing things for me and has opened up so many doors.”
Photo Caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Emily Anderson received a winner’s medal as the Section XI 100-yard breaststroke champion for a second straight year. (Credit: courtesy photo)