Varsity swimmer senior Reese Berry fights off injury bug ahead of college career

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Courtesy of Reese Berry

Senior Reese Berry performs a breaststroke at the Kirkwood Quad. At the meet, she placed first in the 100-meter breaststroke. “I was very excited to swim in this specific meet because we were going against hard competition, but going this hard at these meets will end up to my injury.”

Facing a major setback due to a shoulder injury, senior Reese Berry can do little to prepare for her college swim season at Loyola University New Orleans. Nevertheless, to stay in shape she participates in dryland exercises and water workouts.

Berry began swimming 10 years ago after her family inspired her to start.

“I was not a sporty person. [My parents said] ‘you’re gonna go swim for our aunt’s team and it’s gonna be fun.’ And I [thought] ‘OK, no I don’t want to do it.’ Then I got there [and] it seemed to be something fun. I didn’t really like it at first, but the people that I met and the relationships I built — I was like ‘I really like this,’” Berry said.

Starting a year and half ago, Berry sustained multiple injuries, including her chipping a piece of bone off her shoulder, tearing her rotator cuff and developing multidirectional instability and bicep tendonitis.

“I was just at home with my shoulder in pain and I could not get out of bed. It hurt so bad. I would walk around to try to make breakfast and I couldn’t lift my arm off. It sucks when you feel weak that you can’t do anything and that my sister and my parents were making all my meals for me and helping me get ready. I couldn’t even take off a sweatshirt without pulling something or having it hurt. I felt so defeated,” Berry said.

As for now, Berry attends physical therapy two times a week to heal her shoulder, and she is only attending four out of her 11 mandatory swim practices. She also completes dryland workouts.

“I meet with my doctor every six weeks or so just to check in and see how it’s going. On the swim side, I’m practicing. As soon as I get this fixed and get my shoulders strong enough, I’ll be going back to practice full time,” Berry said. “Other than that, I do a lot of dryland [workouts] and stuff outside of the pool where I can focus more on my legs, so I don’t have to put that much stress on my shoulders. In the summer, I will swim for my club team as well as coaching and swimming for my summer league team.”

As Berry begins to move past her injury history and look ahead to Loyola New Orleans next fall, she hopes to pursue a profession in law as well as to continue swimming. 

“I went down in the beginning of November on an official trip. We went through with a team and got to sit in on a practice. I liked everything, talking with the coach and all the teammates,” Berry said. “I will not be a professional swimmer. I want to go to law school at the moment, that is the goal. I would love to be a coach as a side job or something, that would be amazing. Let’s just see how it turns out.”