Senior Zoe Wortzman never leaves the pool. One can find her at College of Marin or Redwood High School nine times a week, unless, of course, she’s competing. Meets take her as far away as Florida when swimming for her North Bay team.
Wortzman started swimming on the Scott Valley Serpents when she was 10 yeas old and played water polo for Tam as a freshman. Known among friends for her lack of coordination and frenzied energy, she felt drawn to swimming because of the degree to which dedication matters.
“I was [initially] worse at swimming than all the other sports I played, but it’s about how hard you work, not so much natural talent–you get out what you put in,” she said. This is evident in her numerous accomplishments, among them a first place time in the 200 Freestyle race at last year’s MCALs and qualifying for the 2017 Junior Nationals in four events swimming for North Bay.
Because swimming consumes so much of the week, Wortzman often skips leisure activities to finish homework and, as of August, college applications.
“I wouldn’t have realized it when I first joined,” Wortzman said, “but with everything I do, I think about swimming first. I structure every sort of decision I make around how I can perform better in the pool.”
Even with the drawbacks that result from a practically nonstop amateur career, Wortzman is steadfast in her decision she made two years ago. She points to close friendships developed on her North Bay team and genuine love for swimming as the driving forces behind her commitment.
“It has slowly kind of become my whole life,” Wortzman said.“[Freshman year] I guess it sounded cool, but I hadn’t really figured it would happen,” she said. “On my club team, though, the goal is to get recruited for college swimming, so being in that kind of atmosphere [influenced me], but also, when you love something that much, why would you not want to do it as long as possible?”
Wortzman verbally committed to a NCAA Division 1 swim program last month. The reality of this prospect, though, has yet to set in. For now, Wortzman will remain as avid a guinea pig fanatic and Britney Spears obsessive as she is devoted an athlete.