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Lambertville swimmer Lauren Sullivan captured two championship titles in backstroke competitions — and a slew of other gold and silver medals in other swimming events — for the Sylvania Tsunami Swim Club.
The youth said confidence helped her win the gold medal among 25 swimmers at the Central Zone Swimming Championships in Geneva, Ohio, on Aug. 4.
The Bedford Township resident has been swimming with the Sylvania-based club since she was 8. When she swam a disappointing race earlier that day, her coach, Kris Moellenberg, gave her a pep talk that helped her “bounce back” and then win the 200-meter race by two-tenths of a second the next day, said her mother, Karin Sullivan.
“Self-confidence is very important. It is what makes or breaks you. If you have that one doubt, it strips everything away,” said Mr. Moellenberg, who also coaches the Sylvania Southview High School swim team.
Mr. Moellenberg credits the 14-year-old Sullivan youth for every medal she achieved, including winning the 13 to 14-year-old bracket in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2013 Ohio Long Course Junior Olympics on July 19, which qualified her for a spot on Team Ohio Central Zone Swimming Championships in Geneva, taking on swimmers from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana.
The Sullivan youth’s medal totals at the two events were impressive. On July 19, she won one gold and one silver, both in individual backstroke events. In the 200-meter backstroke, she prevailed over 48 competitors to grab gold. On Aug. 4, she received six medals, — two gold and four silver — for a mix of individual and team freestyle, relay, and backstroke events.
Mr. Moellenberg said her wins are formidable because the nation’s top swimmers in her age bracket — basically the top 1 percent — attended the Aug. 4 meet.
Lauren said a prerace talk with her coach helps her confidence, because she does get nervous before a swim meet. “I want to do my best, and I don’t want to disappoint myself because I know what I can do,” she said about the drive that kept her ahead of the rest.
Swimming the backstroke is like second nature to her. “I love the backstroke,” she said. “It comes naturally to me, and it’s a fun race to do.”
Although Olympic dreams are in the distance, Lauren said for now she looks forward to plans to swimming for Bedford High School, where she will be a freshman in the fall, and to November, when the Sylvania Tsunami swim season begins.