The chance to break a record always makes a better competitor. Flagler Palm Coast sophomore Sam Lauria discovered this, although previous disappointing results nearly thwarted her goal.
Just a few months prior to Sept. 12, Lauria considered quitting the sport. Competing at this past Summer Seniors Championships with her club team, Lauria reached the finals in one of her races but didn’t follow with a good outcome.
“I was frustrated at myself because I could’ve done better,” she said. “I just didn’t get the results I wanted.”
Lauria spent the weekend at Lake Okeechobee, and there she got away from the pool and relaxed – something she hadn’t done in a while. She had worked herself too hard, and swimming became more about work than having fun.
With a renewed mindset, Lauria jumped back on the pool to work on the next goal.
Now, in her first year with FPC – and second year overall in the sport, she has accomplished one of her goals, breaking the 34-year-old record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:25.31. Flagler County school teacher Diane Howes held the previous record.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I was very proud,” Lauria said. “It took a lot of hard work, and I’m glad I had my coaches and teammates cheering for me to do it.
“I cried, because I was so excited for her,” said Marie-Anne Johansson, her coach. “It was awesome. I know it was something she really wanted, and she’s been working like crazy to do it.”
It’s crazy to think Lauria has conquered a record that has stood for over three decades while competing for only two years. She didn’t even like the sport at the beginning. It wasn’t until a year later when she returned to the water the she says something sparked
“I felt a connection with the water,” Lauria said.
With two more years to swim for the Lady Bulldogs, it’s not foolish to assume we might be watching a future swim star. Lauria already has the work ethic. If she’s not at school, she’s in the pool.