Sophomore to attempt Olympic trials


Photo owned by Kendall Shields

Sophomore Kendall Shields trains at Austin Swim Club and aspires to partake in the Olympics.

Everyone has dreams and desires, hoping to grow up and become something incredible in life. Having this desire to pursue these dreams offers hope of another opening to come. Each and every step is a step to helping others dream to come true or at least to work just as hard to make that dream happen. For some it takes one, two, or even several tries to know what dreams and interests are intriguing enough to pursue in life, but for those few lucky ones out there who know exactly what to do and who to become in the future will inspire and coach those who want to follow in their footsteps.

“I fell in love with the sport,” sophomore Kendall Shields said. “I knew that was the sport I wanted to do.”

Shields is one of the lucky few who knew her goals in life before she finished elementary school. From the time she was six, when most of her peers hoped for such eccentric careers as astronauts and firefighters, knew that swimming was her true passion. By age ten, she had quit participating in all other sports which conserved her time for swimming only.

“She initially wanted to swim because of the community in California that had a big recreational swim team and everybody would take their cars in the summer with their teammates, and she thought that was really cool,” Lisa Shields said. “She begged me to let her join the swim team, so she could take her car, and that was her initial decision.”

Shields currently practices at the Austin Swim Club outside of school, as she is unable to compete in high school due to scheduling conflicts. She has nine practices a week, each two hours apiece. They include swimming anywhere from five to seven thousand yards (approximately four miles) and a multitude of other aquatic exercises. In addition, Shields has a land trainer, with whom she conditions and trains on a weekly basis.. Though she admits the training is a grueling process itself, Shields believes it gets results.

“It is brutal sometimes,” Shields said. “But it pays off.”

Having the support and encouragement from her family has given her the opportunity to train hard to compete trials and pursue the Olympics .Her family opened up their schedule to drive her to and from practices and make sure she is getting all of the nutrition needed to keep her training level high. They support her when she accomplishes a goal and is there for her during times of disappointment.

“Kendall has thrown her commitment and dedication into the sport,” Lisa Shields said. “As a parent watching your child fully invest so much of their life into something they love is a real rewarding experience.”

Shields will compete in the Olympic trials this summer to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Though she is not optimistic about her chances, she is appreciative of the opportunity to attend the trials.

“[Making it to the Olympics] probably won’t be a reality this year, but just going to the trials is a big deal for me now,” Kendall Shields said.