Cardinal Gibbons Excessive Faculty (NC) swimming phenom Claire Curzan has racked up an unlimited array of accolades for her pool exploits, and she or he’s thrilled about her most up-to-date plaudit – 2022 USA TODAY Excessive Faculty Sports activities Awards Ladies Athlete of the Yr.
“It was undoubtedly stunning, but additionally an enormous honor,” the Stanford College-bound Curzan mentioned relating to the choice. “I used to be very enthusiastic about it. I used to be honored to even be nominated for this award and to change into a finalist. To assume that I had received it was completely loopy, however I am tremendous pleased and actually lucky. I am actually glad I used to be in a position to deliver some extra notoriety to swimming.”
The USA TODAY Excessive Faculty Sports activities Awards is the nation’s largest highschool sports activities recognition program – with 24 in-person native exhibits nationwide culminating with the nationwide present that captured the true essence of sports activities, the place dedication to the spirit of competitors, the pursuit of excellence, the willingness to embrace challenges and the formulation of lifelong bonds intersect.
Curzan capped her senior season by incomes Most Excellent Swimmer honors on the North Carolina Excessive Faculty Athletic Affiliation 4A Girls’s Swimming State Championships by advantage of building a Nationwide Federation of State Excessive Faculty Associations (NFHS) file within the 100 Butterfly with a time 49.24 seconds. She additionally delivered a brand new NFHS file within the 100 Backstroke at 49.61.
Moreover, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer season Video games Silver Medalist helped the Crusaders 200- and 400-Yard Freestyle Relay groups to the highest spots in her ultimate highschool occasions.
“I feel I actually could not have requested for a greater finish to the season, particularly with our final relay,” Curzan mentioned. “To have the ability to go and get two relays on the primary podium was enjoyable and memorable to share with my crew earlier than I left.”
Cardinal Gibbons Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jonah Turner mentioned Curzan’s nationwide laurel is properly deserved.
“During the last 4 years, it has been a number of enjoyable seeing Claire win quite a few awards,” he mentioned. “It was actually thrilling to see her up towards elite athletes throughout the spectrum and never solely be nominated, however to be chosen because the Athlete of the Yr is a superb honor and it was actually cool to see her win. It was a good way to cap her profession at Cardinal Gibbons.”
Curzan’s entree to swimming stemmed from familial affect.
“My dad and mom had been massive into water security after I was youthful and I’ve an older brother who’s a sophomore in faculty now,” she mentioned. “Being aggressive and younger, I needed to see what he was doing, so I joined the swim crew with him. I fell in love with the water and simply needed to maintain going again to the pool.”
Swimming can be an outlet, per Curzan.
“You can also make your self bodily stronger,” she mentioned. “And I like that you may push your self to the restrict, see what you’ll be able to actually obtain and have the ability to attempt for cool issues. I like with the ability to meet all of those cool folks within the sport and race internationally. That is one thing I’ve leaned into extra lately and it has been unbelievable.”
Along with competing within the Tokyo Summer season Video games, Curzan additionally lately competed within the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, incomes a gold medal within the combined 4×100-meter medley relay.
“Probably the most enjoyable half is you undergo a coaching camp earlier than you go to the meet location,” Curzan mentioned. “For the Olympics, we went to Hawaii for 2 and a half weeks and for the World Championships we went to Croatia. The Olympics was particularly scary, since that was my first massive nationwide crew journey. It was unbelievable, as a result of I seemed as much as so many individuals on that crew for therefore lengthy. Our meets are all the time tremendous enjoyable and everyone seems to be so supportive.”
Curzan provided the next relating to her psychological strategy to meets.
“The largest factor for me is each race is a chance to do one thing higher,” she mentioned. “Simply ensuring you capitalize on each race, have enjoyable and benefit from the second. Swimming does not go for the remainder of your life, so with the ability to profit from each time I’m within the water is one in every of my objectives.”
Turner mentioned one in every of Curzan’s prime attributes is her humble nature.
“It didn’t and has not modified since she got here in freshman yr – even getting back from the Olympics and coming and swimming on our crew this yr,” he mentioned. “Anyone her caliber, of elite standing, she might have been star struck about a number of the athletes on the Olympic crew, however now she’s a kind of stars that individuals really feel like they’re star struck when the see her. That is the beauty of her. She does not let any of that go to her head. She stays humble and centered.”
Curzan mentioned when she visited Stanford’s campus, there was an simple connection.
“The factor about Stanford that stood out to me was how a lot it felt like residence, although I used to be 3,000 miles away from residence,” she mentioned. “I do not assume I ever pictured myself going so distant, however I simply felt so comfy across the ladies and the coaches. It was like hanging out with a bunch of my pals and doing one thing I like, being within the water. That was the place I used to be pleased and most comfy.”
Turner praised the student-athletes throughout the Cardinal Gibbons swimming and diving program for the style wherein they embrace life classes gleaned from the game.
“Whether or not it is self-discipline, time administration or exhausting work and dedication, these are only a few that clearly most swimmers tackle and apply after they depart faculty and head out into the true world,” he mentioned. “Yearly, the tradition is round figuring out your position, as a result of everyone issues.”