Athlete Spotlight: Clarke County swimmer Emily Deem
Posted: February 12, 2013
Clarke County High School 15-year-old sophomore
Events: 50 free and 100 free
Parents: Alysia and Mike Deem
Hometown: Berryville (born in Charlottesville)
When did you start swimming: I started when I was 8, just after I moved here from Ashburn. I was playing softball, but my dad just wanted me to try out swimming.
What you love about swimming: I love the team, because we’re such a family, and I just love everyone. I love sprinting because you put all your energy into it, and when you’re done you’re just, “Wow, I just did that.” It’s a rush.
Biggest strength and weakness in swimming: [Strength], sprinting. [Weakness]. breaststroke. It’s never clicked with me.
Sport you always wanted to try: I’d like to dance, be a ballerina. I don’t know if I’d be very good, but that would be cool.
Most memorable moment in swimming: Probably last year. I had to have a swim-off [at the Group AA/A state meet] because I tied for 16th place [in preliminaries in the 50 free], and I was so nervous. There were all these people in this huge facility, and it was just me and one other girl swimming. I remember it being over and just being so excited after I won [to advance to the finals].
Most embarrassing moment in swimming: My bathing suit split down the back once when I was 12. That was the most embarrassing moment ever. I didn’t know what to do, because I was standing out there stretching, My friend had to tie little knots in the back to put it back together.
Favorite athlete: [Olympic gold medal swimmer] Missy Franklin and [soccer player] Mia Hamm. (Deem also plays soccer.) I can’t [choose a favorite between the two]. I relate to [Franklin] more because she’s in high school, and I like her because she’s so young and having so much success. But I like [Hamm] because she was just so young when she began playing on the U.S. women’s team, and she’s an inspiration. They both work so hard.
Favorite sports team: U.S. women’s national soccer team
Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive:[Actor] Bradley Cooper, [actress] Anne Hathaway and [singer] Beyonce. I had a big crush on [Cooper] when I was little – well, not that little, two years ago. And he’s a good actor. [Hathaway] because Les Miserables is my favorite movie and play, and I thought she was awesome in the movie. I just love Beyonce. She’s great, and I thought her halftime show [at the Super Bowl] was amazing.
Favorite Quote: “Fear is a prison.” I like that because when you’re about to race, I always think you can’t be afraid of fear. You’ve got to have fun while you’re doing it, because when it’s over it will be really rewarding. You can’t be boxed in with fear, you have to let go of that and go for what you want.
Favorite subject in school: English and History. I love reading, and I like to read about what our country’s been through to get where we are now.
What’s on the iPod: I love Beyonce and Lana Del Ray.
Pre-meet routine/ritual: I get lots of sleep the night before because I do not do well with no sleep. I listen to Beyonce and “High School Musical,” and I always sit with my best friend to get in the zone. I also eat those Gatorade chews before races.
Plans after high school: I’d think I’d like to swim or play soccer in college. I’m thinking about liberal arts for college, because I like English and journalism.
— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki