Mesa Student Athlete Finds A Safe Haven

'We are here to grow together'

Anna+Stalk%2C+Mesa+swimmer+is+all+smiles+thanks+to+the+support+from+the+Mesa+Women%27s+Swim+and+Dive+Team.
Anna Stalk, Mesa swimmer is all smiles thanks to the support from the Mesa Women's Swim and Dive Team.

Anna Stalk, Mesa swimmer is all smiles thanks to the support from the Mesa Women's Swim and Dive Team.

Anna Stalk, Mesa swimmer is all smiles thanks to the support from the Mesa Women's Swim and Dive Team.

Abby Hines, Staff Writer

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First year Mesa College athlete, Anna Stahlak, has found a safe haven within the San Diego Community College District thanks to the women’s swimming and diving team.

Stahlak has been swimming competitively for just under 12 years now, but this comes as no surprise. Stahlak’s Mother has always told her the story about the day she was born and how the doctor predicted that baby Stahlak would grow up to be a swimmer. Ironic? I think not.

Stahlak expressed her passion for swimming and shared her athletic history saying, “I mean I kind of got tired of it for a little bit so I did other sports too, water polo and swim, I mean water polo and volleyball in high school, but I’ve always been a swimmer deep down inside. It just took me a little time to find the passion for it.”

When the time came to graduate from Valhalla High School she had rediscovered her passion for swimming. Stahlak moved on to attend California State University of Bakersfield for her freshman year and first year of competitively swimming at the college level. Shortly after her first year with CSU Bakersfield, she realized San Diego was where she wanted to be and that swimming for San Diego State University was her new goal. In order to achieve her new goal Stahlak made the move back to Southern California, began attending Mesa College as a sophomore, with the intention to transfer and join the SDSU Swim and Diving team.

Having played team sports in high school and comparing it to swimming with the Mesa Swim and Diving Team, Stahlak believes that the community and team feeling, as well as the support she gets from the girls and her coaches is unlike any other. “The team aspect is irreplaceable and unexplainable,” said Stahlak.

With adding an extra swim practice to her Saturday routine Stahlak is practicing at least six days a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays practice begins at 6:20 a.m. in the pool, followed by an afternoon practice. “It is really demanding, it’s basically kind of like a job.” Said Stahlak. As a student athlete trying to transfer Stahlak has had to learn how to balance school, swim, and her personal life. By no means is this easy, but Stahlak believes that the benefits that come from swim override the hardships.

“Everybody thinks swim is very individualized, for me what really made me get through a lot, like the times like hard sets or whatever, or even when I’m having a bad day at school or a bad day, is the team.” said Stahlak.

After speaking with the Mesa swimmer it was apparent that her passion for the sport comes from the love of her team and the time she gets to be active, and healthy. A healthy lifestyle is important to Stahlak and something that she wants to carry with her throughout life, she said, “I want to be that old lady that still gets in the pool,” followed by a genuine giggle.

Women’s Swim and Dive coach Jim Fegan had positive things to say about Stahlak and the team, “Anna has been a big addition to the team. She is very focused, has a great work ethic and the leadership qualities a successful team needs. We have had a tremendously successful season so far and I’m excited to see the end of the season performances from all the girls.”

Anna Stahlak is taking each day as it comes, putting all her efforts into her goals and hopes to see the SDSU swimming pool in the fall.

 

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