Alison Gschwend, Centennial
Alison Gschwend, Nov 2004

Background—when did you start swimming? How did you get started swimming? What teams have you swum with?

I started swimming when I was really young. Probably around 4 or so. My sister was on the swim team and my mom and I would always go to pick her up from practice and I would walk into that humid pool and I knew I wanted to do it also, so everyday I would tell my mom that I wanted to do it too but she kept telling me that I had to wait until the new season started. I was so impatient! I have swum with 9 teams! That includes Jr. High, High school and club teams from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois. Soon to be 10 teams with Iowa!

1) Are you excited about your final year of swimming with the Centennial Chargers and the Aquachiefs? What are your swimming goals for the year?

I am very excited! It is going to be another great high school season wrapping up and I am looking forward to starting up club season after that and going to all the big meets. I have too many goals to name! I would like to make my worlds cut by the end of this winter season though.

2) What are your plans for college? Will you swim? What do you plan to major in?

I am going to University of Iowa and swimming there. Right now I have declared my major in veterinary medicine but I am also interested in pharmacy and they have an excellent 6 year doc. program.

3) Word on the street is that you’re being recruited by Division I schools. What’s your take on the recruiting process? What schools are in your top three?

The recruiting process that I went through was great up until I had to make the decision (which was a really hard one by the way) but the whole thing was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of really fun and interesting people that I will be swimming with or against in my next four year. My top choices were Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, but of course I ended up picking Iowa.

4) What have you learned from swimming, besides how to move through the water like a dolphin?

Swimming has really taught me a lot. Not only the act of swimming but the people I have met through the act of swimming. The coaches that I have had throughout the years have played as positive role models in preparing me for things from preparing me for a race to a lifechanging event like choosing a college to go to. I have learned to discipline myself by getting up at 5 am on a holiday when all my friends were sleeping. I have learned how to get ready for school in 10 minutes tops! Not many girls can say that. I have also learned that some sacrifices have to be made when doing something I am so passionate about. Telling my friends every weekend that I can't go to the big party of the year or that I have to be home at 10:30 because I have a meet the next day if very difficult. Also, the mention of not shaving my legs for four or more months at a time can make a girl (or a guy) cringe. Now that is a sacrifice! I have learned responsibilites that most people at my age haven't even thought about. And of course I am learned to suppress some emotions, even when someone is tapping my feet for a whole 500 and still won't pass me, or when you just miss a cut to go to a big meet. I have also learned that swim friends are lifelong friends and with 3 of them swimming in the Big 10 next year I know this for a fact! There are so many more things I have learned but I have taken up way to much room already! [Geez Ed, too broad of a topic :-) ]

5) What’s your favorite movie? Favorite food? Favorite place?

I love movies of all different genres so it is very hard to pick one. I do love the "Lord of the Rings" movies though. My favorite food is anything edible that isn't too spicy (that I happen to be in the mood for at the time) and my favorite place is in the pool. It has come to be like my second home where I can think and vent my feelings on a hard set :-)

6) What is something about yourself that people might find surprising or interesting?

Well it may not suprise many but singing is my other passion, which actually goes along with swimming very well because it develops my lungs...and if you ask anyone who swims with me, I am the best at breath control sets! But I don't think there are too many things that would suprise too many people about me.