Swim cap—on. Swimsuit—fitted. Water polo ball—at hand. Goggles—snug. Oh, and don’t forget to keep the swim parka close for those 6 a.m. practices. Ready, set, deep breath, whistle blown—go! Anna Herrin, PCC sophomore water polo and swim team competitor, never imagined how her life back in the water after a 10 year dry spell, would feel as good as it does now.
What seemed like a distant dream to return to the poolside became Herrin’s new reality, as the rookie swimmer was given the opportunity to join the swim team her very first year with guidance from head coach Terry Stoddard. She later would be dipping her toe into the women’s water polo team for a triumphant season of personal growth, competitive mindset, and the ultimate comfort for the smell of pool chlorine.
“I knew that I always liked swimming, and it was always something I wanted to get back into because when I was younger I still wanted to continue but never had the time for it,” Herrin said. “I knew in myself that I didn’t just want to swim everyday in a swim class in college, but rather swim with a purpose, like racing and competition,” she added.
Herrin began swimming lessons at the age of two, and continued throughout summer recreational practices up until it was time she took a bigger leap into the swim world. At age 7, Herrin joined an official swim team where she competed for two years, growing stronger as a child swimmer alongside older teammates. However, Herrin’s immense time commitment for swim halted her from performing other activities she enjoyed such as horseback riding and mountain biking.
Not until she entered onto the grounds of community college did she ever think she would return to the pool. In the swim offseason of fall 2018, Herrin took the chance to dive back in, competing for the spring of 2019, and shooting for fall 2020 water polo as well.
“I joined [water polo] because a lot of the girls who do swim do water polo also, and I just thought to myself ‘well I don’t want to be left out.’ I didn’t even know how to eggbeater! But that was my first time ever playing and honestly it was so intimidating…I actually didn’t get to finish the season, sadly, because I got punched in the face and I had a concussion.” Herrin said
However, Herrin described this dreadful, underwater punching scene with a laugh, as she knew that her speed was what triggered her opponents the most, all thanks to competitive swim of course.
Herrin’s favorite event is the 100 and 200 meter backstroke, but also competes in freestyle events, and the 200 I.M.—the individual medley—a race in competitive swimming that competes all 4 strokes in one race—butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. However, she didn’t start off the strongest. When first arriving on the swim team, it took Herrin ‘almost 2 minutes’ to complete a 50 meter race. Now, she has achieved her personal record of a 30 second race. Throughout back to back swim meets, Herrin was able to drop a total of 16 seconds, bettering her skill, momentum, and scoring.
In water polo, Herrin accomplished to score only a single goal the entire season, yet meant so much to the rookie player and her fellow teammates.
“It’s just so exciting to know that though I haven’t been here for that long, I have seen my improvement so much all because you can change one little thing, it’s almost as if it’s like ‘achievement unlocked’ in like a game or something and the feeling is fantastic.” Herrin said
Despite the recent changes by the CCCAA canceling all sports for the spring season, and Herrin’s hope for the start of a new swim season, Herrin can look forward to her future in swim, as she is a prospective transfer to The Master’s University in Santa Clarita.
“I like how you can just get in the water and there’s nothing else to focus on but you and the water,” Herrin said. “If I’m having a bad day I can just beat up the water and everything is just fine, haha,” she joked.