Recently, fifth grader Carlee Summer Sanchez-Hegarty of Secaucus competed in the Eastern Zones swim meet in Rochester, N.Y. Eastern Zones is a USA swimming meet recognizing top swimmer of the Eastern Coast. New Jersey’s top swimmers qualified at the Junior Olympics swim meet a week prior.
Carlee, a swimmer for Cougar Aquatics Team, qualified and joined an elite of 9 and 10 year olds to represent N.J. swim team. Swimming is a commitment, rising up early morning, practicing late afternoon. “You swim countless miles and its very demanding,” states this fifth grader with a smile on her face and a green diamond tiara which she sports.
Carlee qualified on the 50 breast stroke, 100 breast stroke 50 butter fly, 100 butterfly and relay team. The highlight for this genuinely happy and excited racer was placing fifth in the 100 fly and being recognized on the podium with the top 10 swimmers who medalled.
Carlee works hard and swims strong. She understands that there are ups and downs, but it is how you respond to the setbacks that define you. Her family and friends support her. Swim mates and coaches encourage her. The fifth graders in her class cheer her on as well as the teachers and staff of Huber school, with this winning team who know were it may lead. Carlee is now training in long course over the summer and her qualification times are challenging, but she thrives on these challenges. “Good luck and swim hard, or go home,” is her model.