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The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

Amanda Vu: A swimming sensation

Photo+Courtesy+of+Amanda+Vu
Photo Courtesy of Amanda Vu

It’s 6 a.m., and sophomore Amanda Vu plunges into the pool at the Olympic Swim Club. Her legs kick out behind her slowly, at first, as she is just waking up. Quickly she accelerates forward, finding the familiar comfort of the water. Six feet underwater, she enters her second home, completing the rhythm of backstroke for the next hour and a half before the start of her day. 

This routine is second nature for Vu, who is ranked in the top 200 in the country for the class of 2026 and fifteenth overall in California. According to Vu, she trains and competes in all four strokes at an advanced level, with the 200-meter backstroke being her best.

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Vu

Vu has been passionate about swimming since she first hit the waters at four years old. Competing in her first swim meet at the age of seven, Vu fell in love with the exhilaration she received from racing. Backed by her parents’ support and family legacy of competitive athletes, Vu dived into the deep end and hasn’t looked back since. 

Vu has had a strict training schedule from a very early age, going to practice four times a week in elementary school and into middle school. Vu began her high school swim career at Saint Ignatius Preparatory School, where she was a member of the swim team. The team, which was highly competitive, pushed her to reach her full potential. She led her team to victory, winning a Central Coast Section title. As a high schooler, she attends nine practices a week, morning and after school, for over two hours each. As the hard work pays off, everyone around her has taken notice. Vu recounts how at various swim meets, other kids have gone up to her and told her they admire her as a swimmer, asking how she is able to be so fast. “It feels so good that people look up to me the same way I used to look up to others,” Vu said. 

It feels so good that people look up to me the same way I used to look up to others.

— Vu

After transferring to 鶹ý at the beginning of her sophomore year, Vu admits that juggling her time between swimming, school, and a social life is difficult. Transitioning to 鶹ý’s academically rigorous environment, Vu struggled to manage her busy schedule. She must prioritize her practice and training as a swimmer, but attending 鶹ý also proved more academically stressful and time-consuming than she had anticipated. Vu also places importance on her life outside of school. “I really prioritize my social life because I think maintaining friendships and being able to experience all teenage things are really important,” she said. Vu tries to find a healthy balance by knowing her limits and working on her time management — whether that be staying in for a weekend to study or skipping school dances to prepare for a swim meet. 

Even for such an accomplished swimmer, Vu has her bad days. After missing the cut for a big meet earlier in the year, a competition she had been chasing after for a while, Vu struggled to remain confident. “I had this ‘Why am I doing this?’ feeling, and it takes a lot to get past that feeling. Showing up to practice after that meet where you didn’t get what you want is probably one of the hardest things to do. It takes a lot mentally.” Vu explains she has to dig deep in these moments to find the motivation. Vu works through tough days with the supportive community she has built around her. She is grateful for her teammates, coach, and parents who build her up after a let-down, and cheer her on through the wins. “You go through these experiences with your teammates that no one at school, or home can relate to.” Vu said. “I consider my teammates as some of my best friends.” 

For the next week [after getting the results] I was on cloud nine. I had finally accomplished something that I had worked so hard for.

— Vu

In February 2024, Vu qualified for Junior Nationals — she had been trying to make this cut since early 2023, missing it twice. When she finally made it, she couldn’t have been happier. “For the next week [after getting the results] I was on cloud nine. I had finally accomplished something that I had worked so hard for,” Vu said. “The results had finally come through.” Now, Vu is awaiting the meet taking place later this year in Chicago. 

Further down the line, Vu plans on going to Division One and pursuing swimming in college. She even dreams of one day making it to the Olympics, a reality not far off as she continues to dominate the waters.

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Serena Miller
Serena Miller, Reporter
She/Her Serena is a sophomore reporter. When not in class you can find her roaming around Haight street, thrifting, hanging with friends, and eating french fries with ranch. She also enjoys journaling, and reading sappy romance novels.

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    AndrewApr 26, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    Very well written article Serena.

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