By Sharon Robb
May 7, 2015—Alana Acevedo has the best of both worlds when it comes to swimming.
The South Florida Aquatic Club age group swimmer said she likes pool swimming and open water swimming equally and is happy to be doing both.
Her passion for open water swimming paid off when she won her 13-14 age group in the LSC All-Star Challenge during the recent Open Water Festival in Fort Myers.
Acevedo, 13, is also doing well in the Super Nova Group. The eighth grade home schooler is progressing nicely in her training and meets.
Acevedo has been swimming since she was 5 years old and loving every minute of it, she said.
“I did soccer for a year,” she said. “I was always the goalie. I did taekwondo. I did gymnastics but I was bad and awkward in it. Swimming I just liked.
“I really like water and being in the water,” Acevedo said. “It’s fun for me. I get to work hard at it and it’s something I am good at it.”
Being home schooled has also allowed her another passion as an equestrian. She is taking horseback riding lessons with hopes of show jumping one day.
“Being home schooled helps my schedule be a bit more flexible so I have time for swimming and horseback riding,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo was pleasantly surprised when she won her biggest open water event. She didn’t expect to place and was already in her street clothes when her mom told her that she was needed at the awards ceremony.
“I was really surprised at the open water meet, I didn’t think it went well,” Acevedo said. “My mom was officiating and told me I had gotten an award and I just looked at her. She kept saying, go, go.
“It was a good experience for me,” Acevedo said. “I like the open water racing. I compete better with a bunch of people around me instead of being in different lanes. I try to keep up with them. I already swim with my head up so it wasn’t something I had to learn.”
She also liked swimming with nature. “I’m not sure but there were either otters or turtles around us,” she said.
Her favorite pool events are the 50 and 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle in long course and 200 butterfly in short course.
“Pool swimming is a lot more competitive,” Acevedo said. “You do dives and turns. In open water you don’t have to worry about that, you can be a bit more free and you can swim whatever stroke you want.”
Acevedo made her senior cut in the 50 butterfly at Junior Olympics going 31.00. She hopes to make a few more this year.
“I’d like to make All-Stars next short course season, too,” Acevedo said.
“The competition in swimming is the best and being able to race your friends it pushes you a lot harder,” Acevedo said. “Racing someone who you know and train with and are friends with makes you a lot more competitive.”
Acevedo is just getting back in the swim of things after injuring her wrist while horseback riding.
“It really helps me keep fit,” she said. “I have to learn not to do too many crazy things like hurt my wrist. I have to be more cautious.”
When asked about her swimming idols, she listed her coaches Bianca Munoz, Travis Locke and Chris Anderson.
“They push me and they know what it’s like to be a swimmer,” Acevedo said. “They have the experience.”
She also loves the fact that both her parents are swim officials.
“It’s nice, I like them around the pool,” Acevedo said. “It helps my swimming because they can watch me from a close distance and point out things I need to improve like getting my head down in the freestyle and my head up in the butterfly.”
Acevedo is training for her next meet at Gulliver and also the open water zone meet in North Carolina.
Acevedo joins March Swimmer of the Month CJ Kopecki, February Swimmer of the Month Zackary Harris and January Swimmer of the Month Madison Johnson.
The SOFLO Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org