Photo by Brian Ray
Swimmer Amy Brodie takes a few practice laps in the lap pool at the Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Steamboat Springs Poolside, it was a comfortable 22 degrees for Amy Brodie on Wednesday at the Old Town Hot Springs.
While the fog resonating from the pool made it hard to see the 13-year-old complete her strokes, the cold weather was nothing new for Brodie. She has braved temperatures - often subzero - for the better part of two months as she trains in a sport she loves.
Brodie, also an accomplished Nordic skier, turned her attention and training habits towards swimming at the beginning of the winter. Her goal was to stay sharp and be prepared to peak when the summer swimming season begins in April.
Judging by results, however, those goals have significantly changed.
Along with her father, Rick, Amy traveled to Grand Junction for the 2008 Snowflake Open on Jan. 19 and 20. The eighth-grader entered eight events. Without expectations, she won all of them and posted personal bests in seven of the eight races.
And while the cold has certainly made training hard - sometimes even forcing her to wear a wetsuit top - Brodie said the cold also has made the biggest difference in her swimming.
"It's hard at first, but you do get used to it," said Brodie, who trains four to fives times a week for at least an hour. "It makes your endurance better and your muscles a lot stronger. You can burn more calories in the cold."
Brodie's abilities and natural talent haven't been lost on coach Essi Kenttala.
Kenttala, who coaches the Steamboat Springs Team Lightning in the summer, said it was evident early on that Brodie had the natural ability to become a great swimmer.
Kenttala compared Brodie to Cole and Blake Worsley. Cole is a senior at Steamboat Springs High School and has state title aspirations. Blake is a member of the University of Denver swim team.
"I am excited for her. I see the potential in her like I saw in the Worsley's," Kenttala said. "I think she'll be our next superstar. She's the perfect girl to work with, she's very coachable, and I love spending time with her."
Although Brodie isn't sure when she'll attend her next meet, her goal is to make one meet across the state each month. She also hopes to obtain a Junior Olympic qualifying time before the summer season begins.
"It feels good to have eight wins, but I'm trying not to get overconfident," Brodie said. "I know there are a lot of other fast swimmers out there."
Brodie said she's unsure if she'll swim for Moffat County or stay unaffiliated when she reaches high school. Since Steamboat Springs doesn't have a swim team, local team members swim for Moffat County.
Either way, Brodie plans to keep on swimming. And if things go right, she'll keep winning, too.
"She has that love for swimming. She's excited being in the water," Kenttala said. "She's very determined. She has a long ways to go, but she was definitely meant to be a swimmer."