Ester, like many young competitive athletes, certainly has some role models in her sport that she looks up to. Whether she models her training regimen after them, or studies their technique, here are a few top swimmers from recent years that she might follow:
Missy Franklin has become one of the most popular female swimmers in the US in recent years, largely due to her huge success at the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she won 4 gold medals at only 17 years old. She currently holds the world record in the 200-meter backstroke and American records in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke, and has won twenty-seven medals in international competition so far. Franklin currently attends college at the University of California at Berkeley and is a member of the U.S. national team with plans to compete in the upcoming 2016 Olympics.
Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning 22 medals total: 18 gold, two silver, and two bronze. Phelps is also the long course world record holder in the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley. His success over the past decade has led to a boost in swimming’s popularity, both with young athletes and TV viewers alike. Although he has stated the 2012 Olympics would be his last, he recently announced he was considering coming out of retirement to compete again.
Simone Manuel, an 18-year-old freshman at Standford University, is one of America’s current top freestyle sprinters. She, her teammate Lia Neal, and University of Florida swimmer Natalie Hinds, recently made history when they finished 1-2-3 in the women’s 100-yard freestyle, respectively, marking the first time three African American swimmers swept the medals in an NCAA championship event. At those championships, Manuel set an American record for her time of 46.09 in the women’s 100 yard freestyle, making headlines and cementing herself as an athlete to watch in the coming years. She is training for next summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, and hopes to get her Olympic debut at the 2016 games in Rio.
Allison Schmitt is a six-time Olympic medalist who specializes in freestyle events, competing in both the 2008 and 2012 games for the U.S. national team. She began swimming competitively at age 10, and started training alongside Olympian Michael Phelps beginning in her senior year of high school. Schmitt began suffering from depression after the London Olympics, which started to impact her training and race results. She eventually made her struggles with depression public, hoping to help others who were also experiencing mental health issues.
Cullen Jones is an Olympic medalist specializing in freestyle sprint events. He holds the world record in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay as part of the U.S. national team, and won silver medals in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay and the 50-meter freestyle, and gold in the 4 x 100 meter medley at the 2012 Olympic Games. Jones is the first African-American to hold a world record in swimming.