Swimming to Stanford

Photo by Wade Morgan.

Photo by Wade Morgan.

Be careful the next time you decide to go fishing – you just might find Brooke Forde in the water. The astounding swimmer has swam like a fish throughout her life and, in the infamous words of LeBron James, has now decided to take her talents to Stanford University.

“Stanford was the best combination of the things I liked from other schools I visited,” she says. “I am confident that I can improve in swimming under Coach Meehan and I really enjoyed the other girls on the team. Also, Stanford’s academic opportunities are unparalleled and I know that I will be well prepared for a career after I am finished with school and swimming.”

Forde, who’s earned a 4.0 GPA throughout high school hasn’t made a decision on her major quite yet but is considering human biology or public health and wants to minor in Spanish.

Its just a few signs of what one can expect from Brooke’s future success. But her swimming resume is already awe-inspiring and will greatly impact Stanford’s program in an indisputable way.

She soon will be coming out of the prestigious swimming program of Sacred Heart Academy, where Forde has tasted the sweet feeling of a state championship each year. She says swimming at Sacred Heart taught her “how to compete for something bigger than myself,” since high school state meets are about team scores. She believes this will help her on the next level:

“Competing for SHA has taught me how to swim races where my place [and] points are more important than my time. This will really help me in college meets where the main goal is the team finish at NCAAs. SHA swimming also always reminds me of the fun side of the sport. It is less intense than club swimming, and my teammates allow me to relax and remember the fun in competing.”

There are many things Brooke could leave as a legacy at Sacred Heart. Of the many options, she just wants the tradition of being the best team and producing great swimmers to continue on. But most importantly to her will be passing on the pride of being an “AquaValk,” she says.

“When I was a freshman, I learned from the upperclassmen that it is both fun and an honor to swim for Sacred Heart Academy, and I want to teach that to our younger swimmers as well.”

With high school accomplishments soon to be in the rear-view mirror, Forde has already considered the importance to impact Stanford’s swim program once she arrives. And the goal remains the same – go for the crown. The only difference in college: Be the best team in the nation, not just the state.

“Stanford’s team is already filled with great swimmers, so standing out on their team is a challenge. I hope to be able to score some points for the team at the national championship meet, which will then hopefully contribute to a national title for the team. I know being national champions is a goal the coaches have for our team, and I want to contribute to that as much as possible,” she adds.

Forde, who has been swimming for USA teams, was selected to the 2015 Junior Worlds team and says “it was a turning point for me.” She began to see the opportunities she could have through the sport of swimming.

By competing in Tokyo and Hong Kong in the World Cup this October, she earned a bronze and silver medal. She says, “It taught me that I could compete internationally with some of the best people in the world, regardless of their age.”

Her confidence carried over to the USA college challenge a few weekends ago, where she earned first place in 400 IM for the U.S. National Team. Her coach said her time would have placed second at the NCAA meet last year, which made her believe it will be possible for her to shoot for higher goals like winning a national championship and making the World Championship team this summer.

But of all the accolades and major accomplishments as she has become one with the water, the sport itself is what has taught her the greatest lessons.

“Swimming has taught me the value of hard work,” she affirms. “The sport has never been easy and I have to be very self-motivated. Especially now that a lot of the other swimmers I trained with have graduated, I have to push myself in the pool. However, the sport is very rewarding because it is based on times, so there are tangible results from my hard work, which keeps me motivated.” VT