The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister

Lara: The Competitor

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 10, 2009

Hi, nice to meet you.

No, I’m not the swimmer.  I’m the other daughter.

This is how I have introduced myself to my parents’ friends for 10 years.

My sister began swimming on a city league when she was 10 and a half, and began winning medals shortly after.

little lara with medals.jpgWe stopped Girl Scouts and the church youth group.  We never went camping again.  Most weekends, my parents and sister were busy at swimmeets.  Swimmeets in dark, musty, humid public pools.  Loud music echoed off cement walls, Adidas sandals slapped wetly on the cement floor.  Kids of all ages ran around in Speedos, caps and goggles.

Swimming was fun for the whole family.  My mom brought snacks and socialized with other parents.  My dad often volunteered to be dj.  Once, I even helped keep track of race times on a database.

I didn’t mind going to out-of-town meets.  Every year Lara competed in Tucson, Ariz.  We would drive five hours, see The Thing and then spend three days trying to sit comfortably on bleachers in 100 degree weather.  Fun times.

No really, I’m very proud of my sister.  I always wear Arizona shirts when she swims, well, when my parents remember to tell me she’s swimming.

In March 2008, I saw my sister swim in her third NCAAs competition.

sisters.jpg

Here we are in Ohio at the Aquatic Center.

She was a junior a University of Arizona, in Tucson.  Lara was part of the first women’s team to bring U of A and Coach Frank Busch the NCAA championship.  Lara took home four gold medals, one for her individual race, the 50-freestyle; and three as part of relay teams.

One thing I learned about my sister at my first college-level swimmeet:

She’s a bad-ass.

 competitor.jpgYes sirs & madams, that muscular, composed swimmer with the skeleton on her warm-up suit and tattoos on her shoulder blades, that’s my baby sister.

Lara like every athlete, brings her toughest face to the competition pool.

I was shocked at the stress level Lara dealt with at NCAAs.  Before that, she was just my sister.  We talked about boys and pets and clothes and school; and how crazy our parents are getting.  At a meet, though, my sister becomes The Competitor.  She swims with Olympians.  She does not let them see her sweat.  I know about her life away from the pool, because swimming is not her whole life.  For now, swimming is her focus.

She’s like me; when she decides to do something, she’s going to be the best.

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