SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Amber Hunter
High School: West Broward
College: New York University
Amber Hunter said goodbye to her second family last week.
The longtime Comets Swim Team and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer left for college and next chapter in her life.
“Today was my last official practice with SOFLO,” Hunter wrote on her Facebook page.
“I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am to have been a part of such an amazing team for the past ten years.
“The pool became my home and my teammates became my family. I’ll miss it incredibly but I’m excited for what the future has in store.”
Hunter started swimming with the Comets ten years ago. She was a top butterflier, ranked among the state’s Top 75 swimmers and was one of the club’s Nike Swimmers of the Month.
“Ten years is a long time,” Hunter said. “It’s hard to remember not swimming and being around everybody.”
She got her introduction to the pool when her mom Terri signed her up for lessons at a Pennsylvania pool. When she and her family moved to South Florida, she joined the Comets.
“I guess I liked it and we continued,” Hunter said.
“When we first moved to Florida I really enjoyed the sport,” Hunter said. “I did a few other sports (soccer and softball) but I stuck with swimming.”
The hard part for Hunter during the team’s annual banquet and her final week of practice with her longtime teammates and coaches was knowing it was probably all for the last time, at least until the holiday break.
“I’m not really saying goodbye, I know I will see them,” Hunter said. “I will keep in touch with my close friends and will be able to see how they are doing. It’s not a serious goodbye, I know I will be back.
“I know it will be a change for sure. It is bittersweet. I am going off to college with bigger goals but I am leaving SOFLO/Comets where I got my start.”
When Hunter started searching for colleges, academics was always the priority for the aspiring writer. She would like to write fiction novels and get involved with publishing and editing other novels.
“Academics was the first thing I wanted and I wanted a college that had the major I wanted,” she said.
“NYU did offer Division 3 swimming and has a sanctioned team,” Hunter said. “I have the best of both worlds with academics and swimming.
“Division 3 is a little bit of a different atmosphere. There is less stress on swimmers. It’s for swimmers who want to be there since there are no swimming scholarships.”
Hunter has plenty of memories from club and high school swimming. Her sophomore year West Broward had a strong 400-yard freestyle relay. “That was a fun relay to race at state,” she said.
“My senior year I made state in the 100 butterfly and finished tenth, second in consolations,” Hunter said. “I didn’t get the times I wanted exactly but I had a lot of fun.
“Swimming really helped me learn a lot of lessons when I was growing up. I learned how to manage my time and about dedication. I think that’s why I stayed in the sport so long. I was focused on my goals and putting in the work paid off in the end.
“It was a lot of fun being part of a team. The team dynamic was great and so was the atmosphere. It was a great thing to be able to stay with a team for so long. I know I am going far away but I am looking forward to the challenge and starting the next chapter of my life.”
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org