Ariahn Givens, a sophomore two-sport water athlete at PCC, last year had one of her best yet. With water polo season ending and the swim season about to start, Givens hopes to improve on the progress she made last year.
Givens’ goals for this season include getting faster and dropping her times overall, but especially for state.
“I do want to get faster,” said Givens. “I want to drop a lot of time in my 200 free, hopefully a couple of seconds in my 100 free from the time that I hit at conference, and I would love to do a lot better at state because my times weren’t great as they were at conference so I would hope that this year, although conference is important, I can become faster at state.”
Last season for her 100 free, Givens swam a 53:01 and a 52:65 in the relay. She hopes to drop her time to 51 seconds if possible. For her 200 free she finished with a 1:55.
Givens grew up swimming most of her life. At just the age of 7 she started playing water polo and started competitively swimming at the age of 8. The world of water polo was introduced to her one day when she played for the city of LA and took swim lessons with her cousin.
“Me and my cousin always kind of grew up playing the same sports,” said Givens. “At first I just did swim lessons because I already knew how to swim but didn’t know how to do the strokes and the coaches of the water polo team were like, ‘Hey you’re a pretty good swimmer and I need two girls on my team’ and I was like, ‘Mom, mom let me do it.’ So that’s how I got into water polo.”
From there Givens transitioned to swimming. Although she likes both sports, she has a love for swimming because of the aspect of it.
Teammate Liza Echeverria praised Givens for her ability to come through for the team when they need her the most.
“She’s a good asset to the team,” said Echeverria. “She’s super fast and she’s the top swimmer for freestyle and she’s fast individually as well. She also helps us like in relays catch up if we’re behind.”
For coach Terry Stoddard, Givens proved that she could be a leader during water polo season and he described her as a team builder.
“She certainly leads by being the best at water polo and swimming, she leads by example. She handles the competition well but she’s a builder of everyone else, she sees what everybody is doing and the team is important,” said coach Stoddard.
While practicing and trying to better her times, Givens not only helps the team by helping them win races but by encouraging her teammates and motivating them.
“She’s energetic and fun,” said Echeverria. “When I don’t want to swim she encourages me and stuff. She’s very nice and sweet.”
Givens also attributes the team’s competitive nature during practice to their success.
“What’s really cool is that we’ll compete with each other on the team and sometimes we’ll say to each other ‘come on lets race’ so we can feed off each other and do better,” said Givens.
Most importantly, Givens wants to focus on having fun during the swim season and put a little less pressure on herself.
“Just having fun because during swim season I’m a little bit more tense than I am in water polo season, I take it a lot more serious and I don’t want to say I don’t have fun when I swim but I don’t make it fun for myself and put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Givens.