By EMILY WALOS
When you think of the school “jocks,” most automatically think of Football players, cheerleaders, soccer players, etc. However, swimming, a lesser-known, underrated sport, is one of high intensity and mental challenge. Swimmer and water polo player Dani Wheeler is a prime example of what a “jock” represents as she participates and excels in several sports.
As a senior at Citrus Valley High School, she has been on the swim team all four years, each time making Varsity. Also, Dani has been appointed a “nest leader” for this year’s swim season. Nest leaders are a group of swimmers that have shown qualities of leadership, teamwork, hard work and outstanding swimming abilities. Citrus Valley’s swim coaches came up with the idea of nest leaders to replace captains.
Not only is she a school swimmer, but she is also a club athlete, swimming three hours every night. Like many swimmers, Dani started swimming at a young age; she joined Redlands Swim Team at 10 years old, meaning that she has been on the team for almost nine years. She trains with the Senior Gold Division, the highest swimming team, putting her as one of the fastest in the city. Dani is so serious about her swimming that she hates it when she misses a practice.
Throughout the years, Dani has not only competed in swimming but has also played Varsity water polo for Citrus Valley. Having been a part of the other aquatic sport, she has been able to get her feet wet and expand on her abilities “to make new friends and force [her] to be a team player.”
These physical extracurricular activities have helped Dani with many things. She said that they have “given [her] opportunities to make new friends, find jobs and gave [her] more options for college.”
Being a Senior means that the next chapter of Dani’s life is coming in just a few short months, and her passion for swimming will follow her as she will be swimming Division 3 for Nebraska’s Wesleyan University as well as studying Criminal Justice and History.
Her abilities don’t stop with sports as she is very scholarly, getting straight A’s in her classes this year while taking AP classes.
As most children are encouraged to participate in sports, for some the desire fades with time; however, this desire has only grown for Dani.