Frederick swam her fastest, literally, to the finishing line. As she got out of the pool, she heard the roar of applause from the stands. She didnâ€™t know it, but Frederick had broken yet another Pasadena City College swim record.
â€œI didnâ€™t even know I broke records until after I got out of the race,â€ she said.
Now, a few weeks later, Frederick slowly walks to the Aquatic Center, her roller backpack in tow. Itâ€™s been the first time back at the poolside in a few weeks, ever since she suffered a slipped disk in her back.
She is soft spoken and quiet when she talks about her successful first year on the Lancer womenâ€™s swim team.
â€œWell, Iâ€™m just recovering from an injury,â€ she said with her head down. Frederick looked back up with a smile and continued, â€œIâ€™m actually feeling better now. I hope to be [at the next swim meet].â€
Despite her injured back, Frederick continued to swim and break six school records, which have been unbeaten since 2003. They include the 100 and 200 IM, the 50 and 100 freestyle, considered competitive events by swim and diving coach Terry Stoddard. But to him, staying safe and not injuring herself further was more important than breaking records.
â€œSheâ€™s an excellent swimmer,â€ he said. â€œBut swimming is just a grain of sand on the beach of life. Her health is paramount.â€
But to Frederick, the real rush to swimming comes from the relay races.
â€œA relay is like an adrenaline rush because itâ€™s not just you,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s three other people counting on you [to win].â€
Stoddard believed Emily and the womenâ€™s swim team overall, were very strong this year.
â€œWe have a really strong group. Itâ€™s ironic really that itâ€™s taken 10 years to be faster,â€ he said. â€œ[It] shows the magnitude of some of [the teamâ€™s] accomplishments.â€
Stoddard also said the team is strong, so far breaking five additional school records also unbeaten since 2003, even though there are significantly less swimmers than last season.
â€œ[The] problem is with depth,â€ Stoddard said. â€œBecause of [the cancellation of] winter intersession we lost [many] returning swimmers.â€
The menâ€™s swim team is now eight members strong, compared to last seasonâ€™s 20. The womenâ€™s team dropped from having 20 swimmers to four, according to team members Frederick and sophomore Michael Chiodo.
Frederick, who was home schooled from the fifth grade throughout high school, said she is looking at the bright side of a smaller, close-knit team.
â€œPractice is my social life,â€ she said. â€œNow, I have a bunch of friends on the team â€¦ weâ€™re like a family,â€ Frederick chuckled and continued. Â â€œThe guys are kind of like my brothers, too.â€
Freshman swimmer Agasi Gukasyan agreed. â€œWeâ€™re like a family â€¦ always having fun,â€ he said laughing.
Chiodo was glad the group was close-knit, but it also has its downside.
â€œIndividually, weâ€™re all doing really [well]. We usually get first place in our races,â€ he said. â€œBut weâ€™re losing meets because the teams are small.â€
Freshman swimmer Darrin Smith also believed the teams were strong, especially Frederick.
â€œShe beats us occasionally. Itâ€™s sometimes embarrassing,â€ he chuckled.
Frederick believed that despite the teamsâ€™ cutbacks, they were still doing well because of the teamwork and support everyone shows each other.
â€œTheyâ€™re all really good. [Knowing them] actually makes me want to come to practice,â€ she said. â€œWeâ€™re just one big happy family.â€