W.Swimming's King Leads by Example
Dec. 12, 2011
In the middle of arguably the most successful season of her collegiate swimming career, Andrea King has begun to wonder where the time has gone.
For the senior captain, it seems like only yesterday she was just another freshman trying to prove she deserved a spot on the squad. With 40 women on the team, she didn’t want to be just another face in the crowd. She dedicated herself to working her hardest at every practice and meet so she could become a difference maker.
Fast forward three years as King has emerged as a strong leader and a competitive force in the pool. After recording 15 first-place finishes last season, the distance swimmer has already tied that number in only eight meets in the 2011-12 season.
At the same time she has been “striving for perfection” and becoming more consistent, she has been pushing her deep team to be the best it can be by being a good role model.
“I definitely hold myself to higher expectations as a captain,” King said. “I feel like I have to essentially pave the way for the girls on my team. Our team is the strongest team that we have had and it’s our job as captains to help the girls realize what we’re capable of together as a unit.”
Swimming distance events and individual medleys, King’s endurance and competitive spirit, forged during her time at the Scarlett Aquatic Club, have served her well. Second all time for BC in the 1000-yard freestyle and fourth in the 1650 freestyle, she discovered her passion for the sport by maintaining a demanding schedule in high school and working to keep up with her older brother Andrew, who swam at New York University and graduated last year.
Throughout high school, King swam for her club team, which was a part of USA Swimming, nine times a week, six days a week for 11and a half months of the year. She would wake up around 4 a.m. to be diving into the pool by 5:15. After going to school, she would have a small break until her afternoon practice and would get home at around 10 p.m.
“Swimming for that club really shaped me into the person that I am today,” she explained. “It taught me to realize what I’m passionate about because if I wasn’t passionate about swimming, I would never wake up that early.”
On top of discovering her passion for her sport, she learned the importance of self-discipline, time management and willingness to overcome adversity through hard work.
“I know that if I wanted to get from place A to place B I couldn’t just cross my fingers and hope that it would happen,” King said. “I’d have to work to get from one point to the other.”
But what really made her so competitive and driven, King said, was her goal to best Andrew. She swam with Andrew, who is only one year and five days older than her and is often mistaken for her twin, throughout her life and in her club program.
“Growing up with him made me really competitive,” King explained. “I might not have been as vocal about it as a lot of my friends were, but instinctively I was really competitive, knowing that I wanted to be like my older brother and be better than my older brother."
Throughout her childhood, she idolized Andrew. She wore boys’ basketball shoes and tried out for soccer to be like him and, as she grew up, began to look to him for support and leadership. But once she got in the pool with him, it was game on, and she fondly remembers the times she got the better of him.
“When I first got moved up into his group, I worked my butt off and just tried to keep up with my brother as much as I could,” King said with a laugh. “I remember one of the first practices my coach told me I was kicking my brother’s butt in practice.”
While she “cried like a little baby” when she didn’t get in to NYU because she wanted to swim with Andrew at the collegiate level, she doesn’t have any regrets. Rather, within a few days of moving in to her dorm on Newton Campus, she fell in love with BC.
“I moved in and never looked back,” she said. “I can’t imagine being [at NYU]. I know it’s really dramatic.”
With the end of her collegiate swimming career looming before her, King said she’s just trying to make the most of her time left at the university she came to love so much. Even though she said that she feels like “time has flown by” and it seems like “tomorrow [she’ll] probably graduate,” she’s still, like always, focusing on the little things and taking it one day at a time.
And, like always, she wants to the absolute best she can be and help lead her team to the success she knows it can have. After all, this season is what she’s been working towards since she arrived on the pool deck as a scared freshman eager to prove she belonged.
“I know that it’s my last year so it’s kind of like now or never,” King said. “I’m in a different state of mind and really focused and eager to swim well.”
Written by Jen Dobias