Senior Amy Stelmaszyk has helped the Cherry Hill West girls' swimming team to a 3-0 record as the Lions prepare for the Jan. 4 showdown with crosstown rival Cherry Hill East.
A versatile swimmer who also competes for the high-level Jersey Wahoos swim club, Stelmaszyk usually focuses on the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly for the Lions. She also swims in both freestyle relays.
Stelmaszyk has not decided on college but hopes to swim at the Division I level.
Question: What is your weekly schedule like with the Jersey Wahoos?
Answer: I have practice from 4:45 to 6:15 on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and every afternoon during the week from 3 to 6:30 and then on Saturday from 6 to 9 in the morning.
Q: Has it been tough to make that commitment?
A: The commitment has kind of built up. When I was in elementary and middle school, it wasn't as intense. But as I've gotten more and more committed to the sport, it's become a greater commitment. But I love this sport, so I don't mind it at all.
Q: How do you balance your commitment to Jersey Wahoos with your commitment to Cherry Hill West?
A: Coach (Scott) Sweeten has been great about that. He understands the commitment I've made to Wahoos and he doesn't put pressure on me to make a choice. He knows Cherry Hill West means so much to me.
Q: Do you have time for anything else besides swimming and schoolwork?
A: I have most of my weekends off so I do normal teenage things - go to concerts, go to the movies.
Q: What's your favorite kind of music?
A: I listen to absolutely everything. My favorite right now is [rapper] Nicki Minaj.
Q: What's your favorite subject in school?
A: Right now it's physics. That's keeping my attention. I've always been into math and science and it kind of combines the two.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your swimming career?
A: I know it's a cliché but it's definitely been my mother [Karen]. She's the one who has supported me, paying for everything and driving me to all those practices and all over the East Coast for swim meets.
Q: What's the best thing about swimming for Cherry Hill West?
A: When I'm swimming for Wahoos, I'm basically swimming for myself and trying to improve my times. When I'm swimming for Cherry Hill West, I'm swimming for 30 other girls.
Q: What's the annual Cherry Hill West-Cherry Hill East meet like?
A: There's nothing else like it. There's so much energy and excitement. It pumps you up. We get so nervous a couple days before that we can't wait to get in the water.