Freshman Abby Pfeifer swims her way to success


Sabrina Bohn

Waiting for the whistle, freshman Abby Pfeifer prepares to swim backstroke during practice.

Waking up before the sun rises, swimming six days a week for nearly four hours a day, freshman Abby Pfeifer heads to swim practice hours before school starts and is back in the pool hours after school ends.

As a swimmer for Clayton Shaw Park (CSP) Tideriders, Pfeifer is currently preparing for sectionals on March 9-12 in Columbia, Mo., where she will be swimming mostly freestyle and backstroke. 

“As sectionals approach, I feel pretty confident because last year was my first time, so I know how it’s gonna go,” Pfeifer said. “I’m kind of nervous though because I have a full lineup and they’re all my best events.”

Courtesy of Evie Pfeifer
Posing for a picture, young Abby and Evie Pfeifer stand in front of the pool in 2008. The two sisters have been swimming since they were 4 years old. “Eve and Abs are special swimmers, but swimming isn’t who they are. It’s a part of them and it’s a part of our family, but swimming is a just a small part of what has shaped the terrific young women they have become,” coach and step-dad Ian Cross said.

Because she met the National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) time requirement, or cut, for the 200 backstroke, she will attend the NCSA Juniors meet on March 14-18 in Orlando, Calif.

“At a meet over the summer, Long Course Champ, I was going for the NCSA state cut in the 200 back and I made it by like almost two full seconds, so that was really cool. I worked hard to get that cut,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer could not have achieved her goals alone though. Currently, she swims in the top group, called Elite, with around 40 other members.

“This team is a lot bigger and feels more close knit than the other teams I’ve swam for,” Pfeifer said. “We know what everyone is going through, so we always try to stay positive. If someone is ever feeling negative, we try to encourage them.”

Her coach and step-dad, Ian Cross also helps her to improve her technique and stay motivated.

“Abby has improved her work ethic tremendously over the last year. She was always talented, but now she is working much harder, and it’s paying off in a big way,” Cross said. “It’s great to see because she might be the most improved swimmer in the area over that time.”

Because swimming is a sport that requires both mental and physical commitment, Pfeifer’s work ethic is based around improving herself and not focusing too much on her competitors.

“She is just getting used to beating people and she loves it, but she is motivated more about what she can do to improve herself, and she doesn’t worry too much about what other swimmers are doing,” Cross said.

Although she is usually confident in her abilities, sometimes the pressure and intensity of meets gets the best of her. Luckily, her teammates can also help Pfeifer with that.

“I actually get really nervous. Meets stress me out. My team helps a lot though, to see that there are other people doing what I’m doing,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer is not the only swimmer in her family though. Her sister, senior Evie Pfeifer, also swims for CSP Tideriders and is attending University of Texas at Austin in the fall.

I’m so happy I get to swim with my sister every day, and I can’t wait to see where all her talent in swimming takes her,” E. Pfeifer said. “I look forward to the day, maybe in college, that we get to race side by side, and I hope she beats me, but not by too much!”

Pfeifer keeps her motivation high by thinking of her goals for the future, including being able to swim in college like her sister.

“The hardest part about swim is the time I put in and the amount of practices because it is like everyday, sometimes twice a day,” Pfeifer said. “College really inspires me though. When I do well at meets, it helps me to remember to keep going and that it’s all going to pay off in the end.”