MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon sisters Sydney and Abby Jones are swimming “warriors.”
After pushing their bodies and minds to the limit during the fall season, Sydney and Abby reached the wall at the end of the pool, both qualifying for the state championships.
Swimming for the Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors, Sydney, a junior, qualified in four events — the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, and the 200 medley and 200 free relays. This was Sydney’s third year qualifying for state.
Abby, a freshman, qualified in three events in her first year — the 200 IM and 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Sydney finished 15th in the 100 back and Washington finished 19th in the medley relay.
“It takes a lot of work and determination to get yourself to state not only in an individual but a relay because we rely on three other people to make it work,” Abby said.
The girls not only showed dedication to their teachers and peers but their coaches and teammates.
“Having your team is the most important part of swimming because swimming is an individual sport and a team sport all in one,” Sydney said. “You must focus on yourself and your goals but also your goals for the team and how you want the season to turn out stems from your actions.”
One of the challenges a swimmer faces is being well rounded in every stroke, That’s hard to do.
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“You have to have the right body for that stroke and some people, like me, are challenged with swimming strokes our body isn’t met for,” Sydney said. “Mine is breaststroke.”
Abby’s difficulty is the backstroke.
Many swimmers have to adapt to strokes that aren’t their favorite or the easiest to swim to get times and assist the team. Sydney and Abby have their best strokes though — Abby’s is breaststroke and Sydney’s is backstroke.
Spending most of their lives in the water, starting at ages 7 and 5, their journey to where they are today started in a little pool in Marion. After years of swimming for different YMCA teams, they decided to step it up a notch and go bigger, expanding their horizon to I Fly while continuing to swim for the Sharks at the Cedar Rapids downtown YMCA.
“Swimming has changed my life,” Sydney said. “It has made me a better person, a more organized time managed person and has showed me how to work hard but still have fun.”