ArticlesMay 24 2011
- Written by Sharon Robb
High School: Cypress Bay
Colleges: University of Florida
Her love for swimming is evident the minute Nicole Schein starts talking about the sport.
She doesn't talk about gold medals or pool records but rather about how much she has improved as a swimmer.
Schein came to the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex just before her junior year and started training with SOFLO/Coral Springs Swim Club "because I wanted to be a better swimmer and I knew they were really good in breaststroke."
Working with coaches Dave Cowmeadow and Chris Jackson, Schein improved gradually and was so excited over the slightest drop in time, she caught the eye of six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg.
Lohberg wrote a short story for the club's website entitled "A little story about an unusual swimmer."
Lohberg wrote that he was so impressed by the way she handled herself in the pool. "She sends us a message, 'hey, I am here, I am doing what I can to improve, you guys are really helping me to have fun and to get better inside my own little world and my own boundaries, and YES, this IS important to ME.'
"I thought to myself," Lohberg continued, "what a wonderful girl who can be totally happy with her accomplishments, while others, who swim way faster, are never happy, unless they swim a new personal best by 5 or 10 seconds every meet."
Schein learned how to swim at an early age. She started competing in fourth grade "on and off" and played tennis but got serious about swimming when she started high school.
"I swim because I like it," said Schein, who competes in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events. "My parents said if I liked it, then do it, there was no pressure from them. The only pressure came from what I put on myself and I put a lot of pressure on myself.
"Most swimmers only care about times. All I cared about was improving and being who I am. I loved getting constructive criticism from my coaches. When my coaches screamed at me I knew they were watching. My technique drastically improved. I just got so focused and motivated. Once you do really well, it just takes off. I improved so much."
Her biggest moment in high school swimming was this past season when she qualified for her first state meet in the 100 breaststroke and swam a career-best time of 1:09. She was also county runner-up in the 100 breaststroke after not making finals her junior season.
Schein went from 3:10 to 2:54 in the 200 breaststroke and from 1:14 to 1:09 in the 100.
"I am a good swimmer but I am not swimming at Florida, you have to be all-world or an Olympian. I could swim Division I, II or III but I would rather swim on the rec team and focus more on my studies at UF"
Schein, who plans on studying nursing, said swimming carried over into her school life.
"Swimming made me a more focused person," Schein said. "When I was taking a test in school I would get in a zone like I would for a swim meet. Swimming had a major impact on me, it's been amazing and helped me so much with everything.
"I am sad I am closing out a chapter here, but really excited about the future," Schein said.