Athlete of the Week: Strang flexes muscle to power CF

Carolina Forest swimmer Bri Strang left last year’s Class AAAA state swim meet in disappointment after failing to reach the medal stand.

But by the time she arrived home, she was ready to get back to work for her senior year. So far, the hard work is paying off.

“I worked hard all offseason on everything,” said Strang, the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “My goal is to get to the podium this year.”

With that goal in mind, Strang attended the elite Bolles School’s swim camp in Florida, where she started training at 6 a.m. every morning and didn’t wrap it up until 8 p.m. at night.

“Those kids are hard-core swimmers,” Strang said. “We had training in the pool followed by training out of the pool, dry-land exercises. It was tiring but it was a great experience.”

With her improved strength and endurance, Strang was eager to see where she stacked up with some of the same swimmers who beat her to the podium in the 2011 state meet.

She got her chance in the season-opening Ripley’s Aquarium Invitational, which featured some of the top swimmers in the state competing at “Pepper” Gedding Recreation Center.

Although she didn’t win an event, Strang medaled in an impressive four events – taking second in the 200 and 500 meter freestyle and helping her relay teams to a runner-up showing in the 200 free and a third-place finish in the 400 free.

“I was really excited because to do so well against those kids showed how far I have come,” Strang said. “It kind of let me know where I stand and what things I need to work on to get better.”

Improvement is a trademark for Strang, who has emerged as a state contender as a senior and a team leader for the Lady Panthers. Despite her own four-medal haul, she was most surprised for her teammates.

“I’m so proud of our team, girls like Ali (Goodwin), Lexi (Salice). Michaela (Ryhal) and all of them,” Strang said. “Our goal was to make the state cut and we did in the 200 and the 400. We’ve got a great team.”

And a strong leader in Strang, who even joined the Carolina Forest cross country team this fall to help her stay in shape for swimming.

“I’m not as good a runner as I am a swimmer, but cross training is so important,” she said. “I actually hate running, but it will make me stronger in the pool.”

And whether in water or on dry land, getting better is what it’s all about for Strang.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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