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Swimming to Success: Dannie Dilsaver’s Road to Swim in College


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By Claire Neemann

Diving in at age six, senior Dannie Dilsaver was not aware of how much swimming would impact her life.

After being convinced to try swimming by a friend’s mom, Dilsaver tried out for a recreation swim team.

Although she was cut from the team, Dilsaver did not give up. The next year she joined the Lincoln Racquet Club Summer Swim Team, where her swimming career officially began.

To Dilsaver, swimming is unlike any other sport. There is more behind competing other than just winning.

“My favorite part about swimming is that on the team there is a wide range of ages and abilities,” said Dilsaver. “So it’s not just people I’m friends with on my team, but little kids and older kids, so you can be a role model and really have an impact on multiple people’s lives.”

Dilsaver performs workouts that go all year long and includes weight lifting and two-a-days. During the summertime, Dilsaver swims approximately 16 hours a week to stay in shape and maintain good swimming habits.

Throughout her high school swim career, she has won many state titles. Those titles include the Distance Freestyle in 2015, Breaststroke in 2016, Individual Medley in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and Team Championships in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

“My biggest accomplishment in my high school career is winning State with the team as a whole,” said Dilsaver “I think it was a collective effort for three of the four years to be able to accomplish that.”

A new obstacle was thrown Dilsaver’s way this past season after tearing her ACL during dryland training before the season started.

“Tearing my ACL was hard,” said Dilsaver. “My teammates really helped me get through it.”

Her teammates reassured her that everything was going to be okay and everything happens for a reason. They told her that this injury would only make her stronger.

“My teammates have always been there for me,” said Dilsaver. “When I was injured this past season they were there for me emotionally and I really appreciated it.”

Outside of the LSW swimming pool, Dilsaver has also been a swimmer for Greater Nebraska Swim Team. She has competed in swim meets around the country. Just last year, Dilsaver competed in the 2016 Speedo Summer Junior National Championships where she placed in the top 10 in the 200-meter Individual Medley and the 400-meter Individual Medley.

Dilsaver also has competed at the Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha last summer. Athletes from different continents came to compete for a chance to participate in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To be properly prepared for the Olympic Trials, Dilsaver began training her freshman year.

Although Dilsaver did not qualify for Olympic Games in Rio, she competed in an event where not very many swimmers have the opportunity to do so.

“My favorite part of swimming in the Trials was just being around so many talented athletes,” said Dilsaver. “I wasn’t quite as fast as some of them, but it was just really cool to be in that environment and see some of best swimmers in the world compete and just learn a lot from them from how they approach their races.”

Dilsaver’s swim career is not going to stop when she graduates this spring. She signed her letter of intent in November to attend her dream school, the University of California-Berkeley.

UC Berkeley not only has a prestigious swim program, but they also have an amazing statistic program which sealed the deal because that is what she wants to study.

“Going to UC Berkeley has always been my dream,” said Dilsaver. “It’s a really big honor to be going there not only to swim, but to also study with Nobel Peace Prize professors.”

Looking forward to the college season next year, Dilsaver plans to transfer over the knowledge she has acquired throughout her career at Southwest and at Greater Nebraska Swim Team to help succeed.

“High school really instilled work ethic and determination,” said Dilsaver. “To not let anything get me down and just focus on what I need to do to get to where I want to be,” said Dilsaver.

Dilsaver is excited for the push she will get from her new teammates. That push will help her become a faster, more successful swimmer than she already is. She is also excited to be a part of a new swim family.

“You become a part of a new family when you become a part of a new team,” said Dilsaver. “Especially when you move out-of-state, because you’re not living at home anymore.”

When Dilsaver was young, she had a dream. And now, 11 years later, she has accomplished that dream, making everyone around her proud.

“I’m excited for the future,” said Dilsaver. “I can leave Southwest knowing my teammates will do great things and swim at different colleges and be as happy as I am.”

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Swimming to Success: Dannie Dilsaver’s Road to Swim in College