Sapienza Swimming for Olympic Glory

Breanna Sapienza qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter butterfly. On June 25th, she will travel to Omaha, Nebraska to try to earn a spot on the U.S. National Team. For the past year, her schedule has been turned up side down, unlike that of any other high school sophomore.

At 6:25 a.m., Breanna Sapienza walks in to Superior Athletic Club.

“I don’t enjoy getting up that early, but if I do i know I get the results I want and I accomplish my goals,” Sapienza said.

“We have to learn to swim fast in the morning because in the big meets all the heats are in the morning. And if you don’t swim fast enough in the morning you wont come back the next night, ” said Robin Brickenden, Sapienza’s swimming coach.

An hour in the pool, mostly sprinting, and then a quick wardrobe change. 20 minutes later she’s at school, but for one hour less than the rest of the kids.

“I sent a letter to the school and basically told them this is how much I’m doing, I swim this amount of time and I still want to maintain my grades. I want to get a 4.0. So they allowed me to take 6 periods instead of 7,” said Sapienza.

“She still has an abundant amount of homework. She does an hour or 2 before swimming,” said Otilia Sapienza, Breanna’s mother.

But first she has a weight room work out, then 3 hours of home work. By 6:30 its back to the pool. In a given week, Sapienza will swim anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 yards; that’s four miles a day, 30 miles a week. All for one goal: the Olympics.

“I think about it every single day, thinking ok I have this many days left and just keep working hard at practice so that I do well there,” said Sapienza.

But there’s hundreds of others who have worked just as hard as her, and are just as fast as her. But that cannot be her mentality.

“I just tell myself, ‘okay, this is the time that you’re given. Work hard and you can become as good or better than they are,'” said Sapienza.

“We’ve really had to try and help her relax her mind and realize she’s done the work, be confident in the work she’s done,” said Brickenden.

By 9 p.m. she’s done with her second swim. In total, that’s a 15 hour day between swimming, school, homework and working out and the next morning she wakes up and does it all over again.