Sea Bees swimmer Weech uses adversity to fuel season's success

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January 27, 2012

After suffering quite a few setbacks last season, University of Nebraska junior swimmer Ariel Weech has bounced back strongly.
She endured the death of her uncle, who was killed here in The Bahamas. In addition, the Bahamian standout, who is a member of the Sea Bees Swim Club, was unable to compete with the Nebraska Huskers due to ineligibility, and was looking for something to re-start her collegiate career. Weech's answer came in the Pan American Games last October.
"I had a rough semester that put me back," Weech said. "I had basically fallen off the face of the earth, and the Pan American Games gave me something to work for."
Weech, 19, who has represented The Bahamas at numerous CARIFTA Swimming Championships and on many other occasions, did more than just race in the games. She placed 11th in the 100-meter (m) freestyle in a time of 57.97 seconds, and was ready to get back into the competition for Nebraska this semester. In her first two meets back, Weech looks like she is right back in the water where she belongs. Against Illinois last weekend, Weech finished second in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 23.94 seconds, behind Illinois' Kristen Manias. Weech then came back to beat Manias in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 51.65 seconds.
"Weech has been ahead of where she has been in past seasons," Nebraska Assistant Coach Doug Humphrey said. "Although she has been void in the meets, she has still been an integral part of practices."
Swimming has always been a natural choice for Weech, having lived on an island surrounded by water. She started swimming when she was three years old after all of the exposure she got to the water when her grandfather would take her out on his boat. Her improvement has not ceased to continue throughout her long career of swimming, and she is looking forward to some of the best times of her career.
"My first two years here have been exceptional," Weech said. "My freshman year I was able to improve upon my best times, and was then able to improve upon those times last year."
This hard-working attitude of Weech was instantly noticed by Humphrey during one of the team's winter training trips to The Bahamas.
"We saw what a great character she had and her desire to be better than she was," Humphrey said.
This strong desire is greatly due in part to Weech's tough mental attitude.
"In preparing for a race, I try to be a little bit relaxed," Weech said, "but as soon as I hop up onto the blocks, I think my race, my time."
After all of the turmoil that Weech endured this past season and the positive attitude she has maintained, things can only start to look up for her. One of the greatest things Weech will have to look forward to this season is the addition of her twin sister, Amber, who transferred to the Huskers this semester. Ariel swims more sprint freestyle while Amber is more of a distance freestyle swimmer, so the two won't have to compete against each other too much. Amber's presence on the team will be very beneficial to Ariel.
"It's like having a piece of home here," Weech said.
Moving past all of her setbacks from the Fall semester, Weech already has her eyes set on her goals for the future.
"At this point, I'm just looking forward to the NCAA Championships and hoping to make an 'A' final," said Weech. "After that, it's looking to qualify for the Olympics with the Bahamian national team."
If there's anyone who is capable of accomplishing these goals, it's Weech.
"The sky's the limit for Ariel," Humphrey said. "We're ready to get her qualified for the NCAA Championships, and get her exposed to that next level."

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News date : 01/27/2012    Category : Sports, Nassau Guardian Stories

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