January 21, 2015
By Katie Seaton, Swimming World College Intern
HONOLULU- Andrea Ward, a California native who swam for University of California-Santa Barbara, continues to chase her Olympic dream in the 100 and 200 butterfly after graduating with a biology degree this past fall semester. After four years of representing UC Santa Barbara, the swimmer has chosen to stay and train with Coach Matt Macedo. Training with the team during the week, along with her own long course workouts, has given the 22-year-old faith that making the Olympic Team is not out of the question.
During her time at UCSB, Ward was the Gaucho’s 2012 and 2014 Swimmer of the Year. She was also MPSF Conference champ in the 100 fly and 500 free her freshman year, and conference champ in the 100, 200 fly and 500 free her sophomore year. Under Coach Tim Siciliano, who no longer coaches at UCSB, Ward thrived on the great relationships she was able to develop with her coach and with her teammates.
When asked what her goal times were for her upcoming meets, she didn’t have an exact answer. The young, talented swimmer instead spoke of the mindset she brings to the pool each day rather than a time that motivates her.
“Each day I show up to the pool and I give 100 percent. It may not be a great day, but as long as I put 100 percent into what I had that day, I know I am moving forward,” Ward said.
The humble swimmer strays away from setting goal times and puts more emphasis on her daily effort. However, it was not always easy.
During her junior year, the dedicated flyer poured all of her efforts into swimming, but things around her began to crumble. After walking away from conference without a single win her junior year, Ward felt like she had fallen on her face and was not sure how she could possibly rebound. She had dealt with a rough breakup and was searching for her identity.
She felt as though everything was falling apart around her and she was left with the floundering questioning, ‘Who am I?”’
Andrea recalls the time between her junior and senior year as a period of growth. A time when she rekindled her faith and realized that God was what she was missing in her life.
During Ward’s senior year she won all three of her individual events at conference (100 fly, 200 fly and 500 free). As a freshman, Dre (as her teammates call her) came to UCSB with a 56.51 100 fly. Last year at NCAAs she finished fourth with a 51.47 in the 100 fly.
From this, UCSB’s past superstar advises swimmers to not “leave your identity in things that are unstable like your best times and your relationships. Instead, define yourself with things that are bigger and more stable.”
Best of luck to Andrea Ward! The MPSF conference is rooting for you and wishing you all the best on your way to the Olympic Trials with your new-found, strength and identity.