By John Philip Wyllie
Last season, Eastlake High School’s Andrea Williamson finished second in the Mesa League Swimming Finals in both the 100 yard backstroke and the 200 yard Individual Medley. This year she aspires to be number one.
Inheriting a perfect mix of physical ability and competitive spirit from her Mexican mother and American father, Williamson draws support from family living on both sides of the border.
“My Mom came here from a small town in Mexico and I have a lot of family down there. They are very proud and supportive, but they think it’s a little crazy to be swimming rain or shine all year long,” Williamson said.
But it will take more than a little ice-cold water and inclement weather to stop this Titan junior. She lives for competition.
“I love a good race, especially when it is very close. It motivates me when there is someone competitive swimming along side of me.”
Most of the time that person is teammate Dani Kimmel, the league as well as the CIF reigning breaststroke champion. You can find them engaged in spirited battles several times a week in the Southwestern College pool.
“I train a lot with Dani, my teammate (and opponent) in the breaststroke. I always know where she is.” Williamson’s competitive nature however, developed long before she became Kimmel’s Titan teammate.
“I started swimming when I was eight. At first it was just to practice and exercise, but later I started competing and I’ve been doing that ever since. I like swimming because it is an individual sport, so I don’t have to depend upon anyone else.”
Although swimming is general considered an individual sport, a lot of team spirit and camaraderie has developed within Eastlake’s squad. Williamson has been at the forefront of promoting it.
“Andrea is one of our leaders. She has been leading this team for the last three years,” according to her coach, Bryan Monzon. “I saw the potential in her and in several of the others and she is one of the reasons I began coaching at Eastlake three years ago. Talent-wise, she is a very good breaststroker. This year she will have her best opportunity to win the league title. It will be exciting to see how well she can do.”