Camas High School Sophomore Grace Duffey is very involved in the swim community. But, due to COVID-19, she has not yet been able to have the season she has been hoping for.
Last year, as a freshman, Duffey made the varsity swim team here at school which was very surreal for her.
Duffey said, “It was really inspiring to make the team (varsity) as a freshman. For me, it validated that all of the hard work I have put in over the last 12 years of swim has paid off.”
Duffey began swimming at the age of four when her mom put her into lessons and since then it has been history.
“My first swim class ever was at Firstenburg and since then I have had an ongoing love, hate, relationship with the sport,” she said.
With all the countless hours Duffey has spent in the pool, she has learned the four main strokes to swim pretty well. The strokes are freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. Which has to lead to, unsurprisingly as a swimmer would, her correlating a different feeling towards each stroke.
“Out of the four strokes, one (freestyle) taught me love, one (butterfly) taught me pain, another (backstroke) taught me beauty, and the last one (breaststroke) taught me patience,” Duffey said.
With all of Duffey’s experiences, swim has helped her through a lot and has been a way for her to learn so much about herself and the sport.
For Duffey swim is a way to take her mind off of things, and is very rewarding physically yet calming mentally.
She said, “When I jump or dive into the water, it’s like the rest of the world clears out and it’s just me and my head… all my problems, (and) all my anger, just go away.”
Duffey added, “Yet it (swim) also causes me pain, but the good type of pain. The pain of pushing myself to my very best. Trying to hold my breath just one stroke more, or go as far as I can with each stroke are both things I push myself to do.”
Besides swim being a path for Duffey to get her mind off things and a way to push herself to reach her goals, it also her secret weapon to being able to eat whatever she wants and not gain or lose any weight, which she says is like having a superpower.
Although there has not been a season yet this year and Duffey has not been able to get back into the pool, she stayed pretty optimistic about the sport.
She said, “This sport is something that I have benefited so much from and I know many others can too.”