While students were settling into the new school year in September, Godwin senior Zoe Dixon left on September 28th to competitively swim in Berlin, Germany and Budapest, Hungary.
There were 43 total people on her team including 22 girls and 21 boys. Only the top two people in each event at the Olympic trials were selected to compete in Europe.
“I was selected for the 400 Individual Medley (IM),” said Dixon.
At the two meets in Europe, Dixon swam 200 butterfly, 200 breast, 100 IM, 400 IM, 200 backstroke, and 200 IM.
Dixon has been swimming for almost her entire life. She competitively swims for NOVA of Virginia Aquatics. She practices six days a week for two hours and lifts weights three times a week for an hour.
“In total, I spend about 18 hours a week training,” said Dixon.
For a teenage student, Dixon’s daily schedule is packed. First, she wakes up at 4:25 am for her 5 am practice. Then, at 7 am, she heads home and gets ready for school by taking a shower, getting dressed, making her lunch, and then eating breakfast. On most days, Dixon leaves her house at 8:35 am for school.
Dixon has double practices two times a week. This means that she has practice in the morning and then practice again in the afternoon. She tries to schedule her double practices on the days she has early release from school.
“Let’s say it’s a Monday and I get out of school at 1:30 pm, I’ll go home, have a snack, and work on school work until my double at 4:30 pm,” said Dixon.
After her afternoon practice Dixon has weight training at 6:45 pm at the Steward School. Weight training lasts for about an hour. When she gets home she eats, takes a shower, and is in bed by 8:30 or 9 pm.
Dixon’s daily schedule in Europe looked familiar to what she was used to. She would wake up, get breakfast, and go to warmups. She would then nap and eat lunch. Later, she would head to the pool for finals.
“After finals, we would eat dinner, go to sleep, and do it all again the next day if we were competing again,” said Dixon.
In Europe, Dixon was not swimming with her regular teammates. This allowed her to make new friends with people from all across the country.
“My favorite part was being able to meet so many new people. People from all across the country were on this trip with me, and I became close with so many new people,” said Dixon.
While Dixon had an amazing time meeting new people and being in different countries, the swimming part did not feel like much of a contrast to her from normal competitions.
“It was super fun, but it didn’t feel much different because I don’t normally focus on who I’m racing. I like to focus on my own races,” said Dixon.
Dixon has been swimming for a very long time. Throughout her swimming career, she has swam many different events; Her favorite being the 400 IM. An IM includes butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
“My favorite event is the 400 IM because it’s just long enough where you can get a feel for each stroke. I like the IMs because you don’t get bored having to only do one stroke,” said Dixon.
Dixon believes that she was able to be so successful in swimming because she pushed herself.
“My coach and parents want me to be the best that I can be, but I like working hard for myself. I like working hard in practice and seeing it pay off in meets,” said Dixon.
Recently, her hard work has led her to qualify for the USA National Junior Team.
“I made it in the 400 IM as well as the 200 IM,” said Dixon.
Dixon’s success in her swimming career has come from hard work and dedication to the sport. Her advice to younger swimmers who are looking to follow in her footsteps is to just “stick with it!”
“Swimming isn’t an easy sport and everyone goes through rough patches, but it is worth it in the end,” said Dixon.