Welcome to Behind the G! This is a Georgia Way platform that shares student-athlete stories, hobbies, and what is important to them. To the world, student-athletes are viewed by their outcomes in their sports, but they are so much more than that. Our goal is to share with the world in their own words who they are as people, and the numerous ways they represent the G on and off the field.
No matter where life will take me, I know that “artistic swimming” (formerly known as synchronized swimming) will always be a part of me. This is not a big surprise, considering my mother is an artistic swimming coach. I started swimming lessons at the age of 5, moved to artistic swimming lessons at age 8, and started competitive-level practices at the age of 10. By the age of 11, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Israel national team! I traveled and competed internationally several times throughout my years on the team. Fortunately, I won the Israel championships many times too! All of this did not come easily. I was a very busy child. Some people might think that this is being “too tough” on a child, but I am thankful for everything artistic swimming gave me during my childhood.
As an artistic swimmer, I gained important physical skills. I also learned how to work together as a team, acknowledge my mistakes and fix them, manage my time, set priorities, and be responsible for my commitments. Artistic swimming shaped my core values as an athlete, but more importantly, as a person.
Not only did I have the honor to compete as an artistic swimmer, after I chose to quit the national team I started to work as an assistant coach to stay involved with the sport. I coached children at all skill levels and my youth team won the Israel championships two years in a row! Coaching artistic swimming showed me another perspective of the sport, and I am very proud to think about the process that my athletes have been through with me as a coach. Nevertheless, working as a coach taught me to be responsible for others and to appreciate my coaches more than ever.
Looking back, I now know that even though I did not “stick with it” to a professional level, artistic swimming will always be a part of me and have an impact on my decisions and my actions, which is very powerful since it is a sport not many people know about!
Emily Blecher – UGA Equestrian