Posted Oct. 23, 2014
When Alison Gartley is in the pool, she tries to put time and pain out of her mind.
The Wellesley High senior knows they are just distractions. No matter what her target time is, or how much the last practice or meet wore her down, Gartley knows she has to focus on the current race to stay successful.
“I try not to think about the time that I want or if my body is sore, but instead I try to focus on remaining positive,” said Gartley. “I try to only focus on myself and ignore the people in the lanes next to me.”
That approach has worked wonders for Gartley, who is now in her fourth and final year on the Wellesley High girls varsity swim team.
With three dual meets remaining in the regular season, Gartley and the Raiders have posted an impressive 8-2 record.
Individually, the tri-captain has qualified for States in two events, the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. She has achieved season-best times of 26.78 seconds in the 50 and 58.26 in the 100.
“As the season progressed, we have become more unified and supportive of each other, which has definitely shown through in our times,” Gartley said. “While I have gotten a few best times this season, I hope to continue dropping time as Sectionals and States approach.”
Gartley started swimming competitively at age seven for the Wellesley Swimming Association. Her older brother had enjoyed participating in the WSA before her so Gartley decided to give the sport a try herself. Eleven years later, she’s still on the team.
“My favorite thing about swimming is that I always have a goal to work towards,” Gartley said. “You can always improve your times in swimming, which gives me motivation to continue working hard. I also like how you can clearly measure your progress through your times.”
Gartley’s feels her ability to stay focused on her long-term aspirations is one her strengths, but her individual success may be hindered by her team-first mentality.
“I often forget to give myself time to mentally prepare before my races because I get distracted cheering for my other teammates,” Gartley said.
However, that distraction serves a purpose.
“Because you are looking at the bottom of the pool during a race, the only way to gauge how well you are doing is through how loud your teammates are cheering,” Gartley said. “Even if one person is not having a good day, they can still help others by supporting and cheering for them.
“Having high energy during meets is important because my teammates respond to it in a way that makes them more excited and ready to race. I think that this team does a very good job of supporting each other.”
This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.