Auburn Summer Spotlight Series: Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
June 30, 2011
Video and story by: Michael Stagno
One of the top travel destinations in the world are the islands of the Bahamas. One of the most-popular spots of the 14-island chain is Nassau. Beyond having some of the best beaches in the world, you can also find such attractions like caves, forts, spas and sports. Though it is surrounded by water, about 80 percent of the population can't swim. Defying those odds is Auburn swimming & diving senior Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace.
A five-star recruit from Bolles High School, Vanderpool-Wallace competed for the Bahamas in the 2008 Olympics, the 2009 World Championships and the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. She takes pride in competing, but even more in representing her country.
"It's incredible to be able to go and swim for my country," Vanderpool-Wallace said. "I'm so lucky that I get to visit so many different countries to compete."
At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Vanderpool-Wallace set the Bahamian record in both the 100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly events, and was also part of the record-breaking 400m freestyle relay team. She also took home six of her 12 All-American honors in her first season of NCAA competition.
During the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2010, Vanderpool-Wallace medaled in four events. She earned silver medals in the 50m and 100m freestyle and also claimed two gold medals in the 50m and 100m butterfly.
"Usually the 50m and the 100m freestyles are my best events," Vanderpool-Wallace said. "When I got gold in both butterfly events I was really excited."
While Vanderpool-Wallace is capable of swimming multiple events, she prefers to compete as a sprinter in freestyle events at this summer's FINA World Championships.
"The 100m freestyle is probably my best event," Vanderpool-Wallace said. "Though I think the 50m is more fun."
Vanderpool-Wallace credits her family with being behind her, regardless of how fast or slow she might swim on any given day. That type of support comes in handy with the type of career aspirations she has. Though, when she hits the water, she has only one mission.
"As far as swimming is concerned, I want to swim as fast as I possibly can before I have to retire," Vanderpool-Wallace said.
The career expectancy for a swimmer is not long as it is one of the most taxing sports on the body, but Vanderpool-Wallace, confident in her abilities, has an idea of how long she wants to swim.
"For most sprinters, it's around 30-years-old," Vanderpool-Wallace said. "I think that I could swim for the next 10 years or so if I wanted to."
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