At a towering 6’2” Cedar’s own Lady Red, Katrina Price, commands a fair amount of attention at the block. Her long legs and wingspan are certainly an asset when it comes to out touching her opponents at the wall. Standing in her lane next to her opponents, a tall stretch certainly stirs a level of intimidation that works to her favor. The completive edge is alive and well in the water, not just on dry land.
With the hopes of going into Sports Psychology or perhaps becoming a Mental Coach for athletes, Katrina understands how the slightest nuances can create the winning edge. Sports are as much mental as physical. Not developing the mental aspects of ones sport can be the difference between winning and losing, breaking records or remaining flat. “A lot of elite sports teams now, due to the level of intensity athletes are training at, have mental coaches to help their athletes deal with those high pressure moments,” says Katrina. “Dealing with anxiety, stress, and game situations can affect an athletes mindset real bad if not coached through it.”
Hannah, Katrina’s mother recalls, “I had been told while we were living up north that she [Katrina] was too old to start swimming at the age of 10 and would need private lessons. So when we moved down to Cedar, we met with Coach Coston, and he said, ‘No, she doesn’t need private lessons. We can put her on the swim team.’ He taught her how to swim, and she quickly took to it which has been great.”
I’ve learned to not hear any noises, not see anything around me, and just see my own race from a 3rd person view.
“I just love it,” Katrina says about swimming. “It will be fun this year swimming with my younger sister Elisa. We will be competing for relay spots against each other. She is really fast.” Having a fellow teammate within the home competing for relatively the same events creates an interesting senior vs. freshman, sister vs. sister dynamic. “We are different athletes, completely. It is really fun though, and I am looking forward to swimming with her.”
Swimming year-round keeps Katrina fully engaged in her sport. She averages about 14 hours a week in the pool with some days being upwards of five hours in the pool. “If you don’t maintain your passion for the sport,” Katrina shares, “it just becomes pacing in the pool. Those can become the worst practices. Making sure you are motivated, dedicated, and excited to be there and having good teammates that remind you why you are at the pool, that makes all the difference.”
Staying motivated can be difficult at times for any swimmer. The picture is something like this: swimming back and fourth across the pool, scenery remaining the same, the strokes rarely changing, lap after lap. So where does Katrina go to stay motivated and who does she turn to? “I get to swim with amazing athletes. They do really well, and that is part of why I love swimming. I get to watch them swim too, sharing their victories and having them share in mine. My mom is also a big motivator for me as well. I love to swim to impress her.”
The chemistry between teammates is very important to team and individual success, and with Katrina swimming year-round, club and school competitions offer a great chemistry in which to thrive. “You walk into a high school meet, and you cannot even hear the person sitting next to you. It’s so loud because everyone is so into cheering each other on. Being with people that long, it’s like they become your second family. You go through hard workouts together, and you share in the pain, which brings you closer together. My team is full of amazing kids.”
Last season during state, Katrina found herself preparing to swim in one of her events, the 100m backstroke. She readily admits to being nervous due to struggling with being stuck in a plateau, holding on to the same time for almost two years. She recalls the pressure she felt in the moment, and the excitement when her race was done. “It was tough because I knew we were trying to beat Park City,” she says. “I wanted to do well to make sure I got points for my team. It was really hard to quiet the voices in my head, but when I finished my race, I had dropped a full second. It was real nice too because I was in lane 8, and I could see my teammates cheering me on the whole way.” With a beautiful smile Katrina relives the moment, “It was a glorious one second.”
“It is definitely hard to finish a race knowing you could have done better, wishing you could go back and re-do those last few minutes and change the outcome,” says Katrina. “You work for fourteen hours a week for one minute to prove what you’ve done paid off. That’s hard and stressful, but part of being an athlete is being mentally tough.”
here is this moment that very few athletes actually experience, yet each one quietly seeks. Some describe it as an intense focus where the noise around you goes quiet. Others refer to it as a zone they find themselves in where everything else around them disappears. Katrina Price has experienced such a moment and has trained herself to reach such a zone repeatedly; something athletes covet. “My routine has gotten way better,” she states. “Its down to a science. I try and keep calm before my race. I like to just sit in the corner by myself with my cap and goggles on and go completely black. I’ve learned to not hear any noises, not see anything around me, and just see my own race from a 3rd person view. Most of the time I can get up on the block and execute the race I just watched moments before. That is my ideal race.”
The Lady Red swim team intends on accomplishing great things this year. “We have an extremely fast team this year.” Katrina states with confidence, “This is the year to watch Cedar girls swim for sure. We hope to continue the legend, to defend what we accomplished last year, to beat the boy’s team, and break that medley relay record. We are so close. We are breaking that record, and when we do, it will be shattered.” When asked what she will miss most about going into her final season as a Lady Red, Katrina hesitates to share because she has given it serious thought. “Swimming is such a big part of my life. I would be content to pause time and continue this for a while. I will miss it. This is the place for me, where it all began. It’s where I learned to swim, fell in love with swimming, failed at it, and where I am experiencing my peak once again.”• HSSI