Elena Rameriz, High School of St. Thomas More
Elena Rameriz, Dec 2004

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

I started swimming for Indian Acres Swim Team when I was 6 years old. I swam in my first meet because they needed a 6 year old or they would forfeit all the events. My mom did not even know that I could swim the whole 25 yards and the coach had to convince her to let me swim. The rest is history! I loved going to the meets because I could take a little cooler with food. One of my friends would bring her cooler, too, and we would eat all of our food before warm-ups even started! This summer will be my 13th and final year on the Indian Acres Swim team, as a swimmer, however, I am looking forward to more years with IA as a coach. I started Aquachiefs when I was 9 and have continued ever since.

Are you excited about your final year of swimming with the High School of St. Thomas More and the Aquachiefs? What are your swimming goals for the year?

I am more than excited for this year. I know it is going to be amazing. It's definitely a year of firsts and a year of lasts. Firsts so far have been going on official visits, applying to college, and everything regarding high school graduation. This will be my 6th consecutive and final YMCA Nationals, as well as my 4th and final high school sectionals and state. It will be sad knowing that I won't be back there next year, but I know that there will be plenty of great meets to go to next year in college. Goals for this year? I want to have 100 % best times this year. Last year, I had best times in everything except the 200 fly.

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

I plan to major in dietetics and human nutrition. I really enjoy chemistry and want to work with athletes. What better way to stay involved with sports after college than to work directly with athletes planning healthy eating plans? My ultimate career goal is to be a dietician at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Count me in for college swimming. I've looked forward to this since I was 10. I am excited to be part of a college team and look forward to being able to contribute. I also look forward to being with other swimmers -- they are the greatest people! Anyway, I've smelled like chlorine 13 years, I can't stop now!

Word on the street is that you're being recruited by Division 1 schools. What's your take on the recruiting process. What schools are in your top three?

Since 8th grade, I have gotten letters from over 80 different college swim programs ranging from Division One to Division Three and from California to Connecticut. The recruiting process is so different from anything I had ever experienced. The most important thing to remember is that it is all about what you want and what is best for you. Your parents, your coach, and your friends can give you advice but you need to follow your heart. I wanted to find the school that best fit me. When you find that perfect fit school, you just know. Trust me, you know. The schools in my top three were all excellent institutions. Ultimately, however, I had to chose the school that I felt most comfortable at. The biggest factor in my decision was academics. In 15 years, I am not going to be like Dara Torres and still competing. I'll have a career, and I had to select a school that would help me meet that goal first, and then my swimming goals. That school is Saint Louis University. There is a huge sense of relief once the decision is made. I highly recommend making the decision early and then getting on with planning all the other fun stuff like housing, roommates, and classes.

Whats better, a billiken or a leprechaun? (What's a Billiken?)

A BILLIKEN!!! (Sorry Mr. Mehnert) The story behind the mascot makes it even better. Ask me about it sometime and I'll tell you (note to Steve Petruzzello - Billikens are NOT pagan gods). Notre Dame and SLU are both great schools, but for me, SLU was the better choice. It's the total package…academics, athletics, and atmosphere. And it doesn't hurt that I have an amazing roommate already, Susan Stron. She swims for BRRYALL and will also swim next year at SLU. We are both really excited for next year.

You coach at ECISC powerhouse Indian Acres during the summer. What do you like about coaching young swimmers?

I can tell my 8 year olds day after day to breath to the side on free or keep their head down on dives and they just don't get it. Sometimes it is really hard for me because something like that comes so naturally now. It has taught me to find alternative and fun ways of coaching and teaching them. The most rewarding part of my coaching experience at Indian Acres isn't seeing kids drop a lot of time or even win conference. When one of my kids dives with their head down and doesn't belly flop, the look on their faces is enough for me.

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

Time management is the key. Homework not done equals no practice. I learned pretty quick how to use every moment of time efficiently. It is also because of swimming that I think I am a very outgoing person. I can remember sitting in the bullpen as a 10 year old and starting conversations with the swimmer next to me who I didn’t know. Those swimmers are still friends of mine today. That communication skill has helped me in many ways in school and beyond. Self-discipline is an important part of swimming. It is not easy to get up early and always have hairy legs and chipping fingernail polish. You have to really want to achieve your goals and keep going even when it is easier not to.

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

Favorite movie: Shrek and Shrek 2
Favorite food: There is nothing better than a coconut mango smoothie and curry chicken salad from Saint Bart's while sitting on the beach staring at the ocean, in Fort Lauderdale after YNATS.
Favorite place: Other than the swimming pool??? My favorite place to be is at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale and all the perks that come with it, like Saint Barts, Oasis (aka The Swings), the vendor village, the swimmer statue, A1A, and the beach. Back in CU, I like to run around South Farms and Meadowbrook Park, eat at Jarlings Custard Cup and Dom's, and practically live at Indian Acres in the summer time. My Saint Louis favorites are the Billiken statue on campus (although I have heard that it shouldn't be touched), my future residence hall called Griezediek, and last but not least, the top of the Saint Louis Arch.

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

I have made over 100 small quilts for patients at the Shriner Children's Hospital, in Lexington, KY. Even though I don’t have time to pursue these interests anymore, I studied piano for 9 years and marimba and xylophone for 5 years.

My advice to younger swimmers.

Work hard and do your best in school. Make the best grades that you can. Get involved in activities that help other people and improve the community you live in. Enjoy swimming every day, not just at meets. Remember to thank your parents. Don't breathe underwater.