This week, we caught up with New Mexico-based Sara Lark, a competitive open water swimmer who is training with MySwimPro to prepare to cross the English Channel!
We’re proud to welcome Sara to our Ambassador Team.
Sara’s Swimming Journey:
My name is Sara Lark (@saraswimsthesea), and I live and work in Raton, New Mexico. I am a Rural Health Clinic Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner Student (9 months to go)!
I started swimming when I was 3 and was on swimming, volleyball and basketball teams throughout my entire childhood. Ever since, it’s been quite the journey getting to where I am today in my swimming.
I went on to play collegiate beach volleyball for a couple years, until I injured my shoulder. Beach volleyball ended up causing three of my five shoulder surgeries, so I had to ditch the court for running. So then I put my all into running for a couple years, and even ran a couple of half marathons, a marathon and a triathlon.
Once my shoulder was ready, I started competing again on the beach court. Since it was such a bad sport for my shoulder, I had to really decide if I wanted to back into it or not.
Competing was something that I strived for. It gave me a timeline, and something to train and work for throughout the year.
“I am what they call a passive competitor. I may look calm but inside I want to win and will push myself as hard as possible to reach those goals.”
Eventually, I ended up choosing to quit volleyball. I just couldn’t keep hurting myself. So I moved to New Mexico for nursing school and ironically discovered my love for open water swimming.
“I am motivated the most when I have a new challenge ahead of me.”
Getting Back Into It:
Once I finished nursing school, I started power lifting. I liked the challenge it brought but also, it was something that I could do no matter how bad the weather was outside. New Mexico didn’t provide the best conditions to train year-round for beach volleyball, running or triathlons. I lifted for about two years before I discovered a hidden treasure in the town in which I lived.
“The local aquatic center had lap swim hours. It lit a spark inside of me once again.”
I swam for about a year competing in a couple of open water swims before I had guess what… my fourth shoulder surgery. I recovered well and trained for yet another summer of open water swimming.
Then, I finished my swim year with my fifth shoulder surgery.
“It was daunting, looking at the future, hoping to be able to compete again.”
The English Channel
Fast forward to this summer. I am recovered (yet again) and my goal is to continue to grow as a swimmer, to get stronger and to cross off more open water swims.
“My ultimate goal is to cross The English Channel which is set for Summer 2019.”
I have heard that I would never be able to swim again due to the extent of my shoulder injuries, but this is now or never. This crossing and training is something I am looking forward to, something that I want to accomplish for myself, and without any injuries.
“You never know how much you love swimming until you’re stuck injured on the pool deck.”
To protect my shoulder, I’ve had to re-evaluate how I am actually going to do it. I recently got clearance to get back to my long distance swims, but from now on I will only be able to swim breaststroke and freestyle.
Training with MySwimPro
“MySwimPro has given me the ability to track my swims and distances, to make sure I’m training effectively for the Channel.”
I love getting workouts that can be tailored to where I am in my training and it’s enabled me to improve my times and improve my endurance in both breaststroke and freestyle. I can’t wait to ramp up my training in preparation for the big race next year.
Follow along in the MySwimPro app to see how I’m training!
You are killing it, Sara! We are so happy to have you on our team as an Ambassador. Thanks for sharing your story, keep up the hard work, and good luck in your next race!
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