A for Athlete
Advertisement

Insihgts[]

Injury makes junior work harder[]

Wadsworth's Lanson says accident helps her to realize goals

By David Lee Morgan Jr. Beacon Journal sports writer


Published on Thursday, Jan 28, 2010


WADSWORTH: It was a normal cross-training day for Wadsworth junior swimmer Elaina Lanson two years ago. Or so it started out that way.

It was just before her freshman year on Labor Day. Lanson was riding her bicycle with a few other friends on one of the area towpath trails when she had an accident and crashed her bike.

Lanson injured her shoulder, and it bothered her during her freshman season. Despite her injury, the 5-foot-11 Lanson bounced back and qualified for the Division I state championship in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles the past two years. She also is the school record-holder in the 50 with a time of 53.51.

Before her sophomore season, Lanson had surgery on her shoulder and later underwent extensive physical therapy that kept her out of the pool and unable to train until a few weeks before school started. Yet she had another outstanding season and finished 17th at the state meet in the 50. Actually my accident and surgery have inspired me, said Lanson, who has one of the top times in the area in the 100 freestyle. It showed me that if this is what I can do when I was hurt and wasn't able to train like I wanted, then what could I do if I was healthy and I was able to train like I could?

A new outlook

Lanson changed many things about her training this year and is training harder than ever as the Grizzlies prepare for the Suburban League Meet on Friday.

Elaina has a lot of natural ability talent-wise, Wadsworth coach Autumn Reeves said. And being tall and lean really helps her. But I think the most important thing is that she is realizing that she can be even better as long as she keeps working hard. But some things will stay the same.

Lanson is a snack-a-holic.

And before a meet, she's at her best.

Hershey bars.

Rice Krispie Treats.

Gummi Bears.

I know I'm not supposed to eat all of that stuff but I can't help it, she said. I'm trying to eat the right things. But her pre-meet eating habits haven't affected her performances in the pool.

Special bond

Lanson and 200-freestyle medley teammates Ali McNutt, Amanda Pallija and Lexi Surratt share the pool at the Steiner Youth Center, but they share even more — a bond. That bond is evident every time these young ladies jump into the pool for practice. Instead of swimming laps on their own, in separate lanes, they swim together, in the same lane. The space is tight in that lane as they pass each other, but they wouldn't want it any other way. There's a reason for their commitment to one another.

We've gotten to be a lot closer, said Pallija, who is a senior, along with McNutt. We had the same relay team last year and we missed qualifying for state by .08 seconds. So this year, we're more dedicated and we push each other more in practice. Being together more and swimming together, you train much harder. McNutt felt the same way and enjoys practice even more this year. Because we're together more, we definitely find each other more accountable. We can watch each other and point out things that we all need to work on to get better as a team, she said. Surratt, a sophomore, said: Now that we train together, I feel like I have to hold up my end, so that pushes me to work harder for the whole team. Lanson said making an effort to become closer has been important. We're not spread out in the pool, Lanson said. We're always together. And since we almost made it to state last year, we know what our goal is, we know how hard we have to work and we know what we have to do to achieve it.



David Lee Morgan Jr. can be reached at dlmorgan@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Varsity Letters high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/.


Wadsworth swimmer Elaina Lanson swimming the freestyle at practice at the Steiner Youth Center in Wadsworth. (Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal) View more photos>> WADSWORTH: It was a normal cross-training day for Wadsworth junior swimmer Elaina Lanson two years ago.

Or so it started out that way.

It was just before her freshman year on Labor Day. Lanson was riding her bicycle with a few other friends on one of the area towpath trails when she had an accident and crashed her bike.

Lanson injured her shoulder, and it bothered her during her freshman season. Despite her injury, the 5-foot-11 Lanson bounced back and qualified for the Division I state championship in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles the past two years. She also is the school record-holder in the 50 with a time of 53.51.

Before her sophomore season, Lanson had surgery on her shoulder and later underwent extensive physical therapy that kept her out of the pool and unable to train until a few weeks before school started. Yet she had another outstanding season and finished 17th at the state meet in the 50.

Actually my accident and surgery have inspired me, said Lanson, who has one of the top times in the area in the 100 freestyle. It showed me that if this is what I can do when I was hurt and wasn't able to train like I wanted, then what could I do if I was healthy and I was able to train like I could?

A new outlook

Lanson changed many things about her training this year and is training harder than ever as the Grizzlies prepare for the Suburban League Meet on Friday.

Elaina has a lot of natural ability talent-wise, Wadsworth coach Autumn Reeves said. And being tall and lean really helps her. But I think the most important thing is that she is realizing that she can be even better as long as she keeps working hard.

But some things will stay the same.

Lanson is a snack-a-holic.

And before a meet, she's at her best.

Hershey bars.

Rice Krispie Treats.



Gummi Bears.

I know I'm not supposed to eat all of that stuff but I can't help it, she said. I'm trying to eat the right things.

But her pre-meet eating habits haven't affected her performances in the pool.

Special bond

Lanson and 200-freestyle medley teammates Ali McNutt, Amanda Pallija and Lexi Surratt share the pool at the Steiner Youth Center, but they share even more — a bond.

That bond is evident every time these young ladies jump into the pool for practice.

Instead of swimming laps on their own, in separate lanes, they swim together, in the same lane.

The space is tight in that lane as they pass each other, but they wouldn't want it any other way. There's a reason for their commitment to one another.

We've gotten to be a lot closer, said Pallija, who is a senior, along with McNutt. We had the same relay team last year and we missed qualifying for state by .08 seconds. So this year, we're more dedicated and we push each other more in practice. Being together more and swimming together, you train much harder.

McNutt felt the same way and enjoys practice even more this year.

Because we're together more, we definitely find each other more accountable. We can watch each other and point out things that we all need to work on to get better as a team, she said.

Surratt, a sophomore, said: Now that we train together, I feel like I have to hold up my end, so that pushes me to work harder for the whole team.

Lanson said making an effort to become closer has been important.

We're not spread out in the pool, Lanson said. We're always together. And since we almost made it to state last year, we know what our goal is, we know how hard we have to work and we know what we have to do to achieve it.

David Lee Morgan Jr. can be reached at dlmorgan@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Varsity Letters high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/.

Advertisement