- September 7, 2017
As a member of the SouthWest Stars swim team out of SouthWest Aquatics in Winter Garden, Ava Bartolomei has swam in plenty of big competitions at the state and national levels. Recently, though, she got to go a notch higher, swimming the 100-meter butterfly for Puerto Rico in the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Championships in Trinidad.
At first, my dad came up to me with the idea of swimming for Puerto Rico, which I thought was really cool. It’s something bigger than I’ve ever done. … I was selected in May to swim for the team and that was something that really excited me.
It was something really new. I’d been told about what it would be like, but to see it myself was really eye-opening. It’s really humbling, almost — you see that there is so much beyond Florida.
I took away that you just have to stay humble about who you are, because there are so many other people that are so much better than you. You just have to work from that. You just have to realize where you are and see how you can get better.
Yes. To have other (local) girls representing Puerto Rico with me, it helped ease the transition into meeting new people. It made it a lot easier to communicate and just go with the flow of things — it made it feel like home, almost.
Yes! Social media is a big part of that — getting their phone numbers and Snapchat and all of that crazy stuff. It’s interesting, getting to know them down there and then being able to communicate, still, from such a far distance, is really awesome.
I went down a few days early with friends that are from Trinidad. So, I got a kind of local viewpoint of what it’s like down there. … It’s really interesting.
Mentality-wise, he’s taught me that you have to be not only physically-prepared, but mentally-prepared going into anything. I never really woke up to it until I realized that I’ve had my low points in swimming when I was not mentally focused and prepared for my races. So that’s been a big thing for me.
I want to be the top flyer on the team — and that’s really difficult, because I know what I’m up against. I really hope to impress my coach, but also to represent West Orange in the best way possible.
I’d have to say social studies and history. I don’t know why — current events and stuff like have just really interested me the past couple of years.
I’d like to go into politics, actually. One day, I’d like to be an elected official. That’s an endpoint goal of mine, whether it’s at the state or national level. That’s really a dream of mine.
“House of Cards.” It’s really not something I want to be modeled after — because they’re not the best, definitely — but it’s really interesting.