Senior Andrea Ducar “Flys” Towards College Swimming
By Sirisha Brahmandam, Layout/Design Editor
Three rapid whistles sound. She walks behind the blocks, glances left and right at her competitors, and takes a deep breath. Looking down the lane, she thinks about the upcoming events and performs her quirky ritual. One prolonged whistle sounds. The race begins and the mantra “Swim smart first, swim fast second” repeats in her mind.
This has been the life of senior Andrea Ducar since the age of five. Her career in swim started due to a muscular disease that required physical therapy. As she grew up and explored various sports, she always found her way back to swim.
When asked about what drives her to swim on a daily basis, she noted her team as the number one factor. “Having a team to support me through the highs and lows is the best part, and I love always have something to look forward to,” she says. “They are my second family.”
It hasn’t always been easy through this journey. Andrea has sacrificed a tremendous amount for this sport and devoted her life to it, from traveling across the country to investing in costly gear such as kneeskins, goggles, and swim caps. And despite the many injuries that have set her back, including multiple dislocated shoulders, there is one piece of advice she has taken to heart: it is always possible to bounce back from anything. Her injuries push her to work even harder because “for every week you’re out of the water, it takes two weeks to get back in shape.” With her confidence, passion, and open-mindedness, Andrea has always managed to make it to the top.
One of her memorable moments that portrays these qualities is from conferences last year. It was a challenging season because she wasn’t swimming up to her usual standards. In a turn of events against a competitor from Thomas Jefferson High School, she was able to achieve a record time.
All of her hard work has paid off because she is now committed to Towson University for swim — her events are butterfly, IM (individual medley), and freestyle. Towson has always been her top choice because of the exceptionally welcoming community and specialized majors that appeal to her interests — she is planning to major in deaf studies and minor in speech communication disorders. This year, Towson said they would admit more people than they had in the past, and it concerned her because of the similar events she swims with other potential recruitees.
After an official trip to meet the coach, she heard back with a scholarship offer and cited it as an unforgettable milestone in her swimming career. She’s looking forward to collegiate swimming, meeting new people, and, hopefully, making the Olympic trials. "She is an incredibly competitive and self-driven person," says FCHS swim coach Peter Milligan, "so I have no doubt that she'll thrive in the [college] environment." Without the help of her family, coaches, and friends, she says, none of this would’ve been possible. And, more importantly, she encourages everyone else to persevere working towards their dreams as she did with swimming.
“Talent can only get you so far. It takes hard work and determination to achieve your wildest goals.”