Washington’s top female swimmer trains in hotel pool - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington’s top female swimmer trains in hotel pool

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17-year-old high school swimmer Emma Schanz trains in a hotel pool. 17-year-old high school swimmer Emma Schanz trains in a hotel pool.
COLVILLE, Wash. -

Few high school girls glide through water like Colville's Emma Schanz.

The 17-year-old is the No. 1 ranked high school swimmer in Washington, and 13th in the nation.

But what makes Emma unique, beyond her talent, is the difficult setting in which she trained her whole life.

Emma trains in a hotel swimming pool at Benny's Colville Inn. It's the only indoor swimming pool in the area.

“It's really what I have to work with,” Schanz said. “I know, it's crazy.”

Schanz swims twice a day, dodging others who come to swim laps or just play in the pool. The public space is often crowded, especially after school in wintertime.

“I really have to watch my surroundings,” Schanz said. “I've been hit in the head by inflated balls more than a few times.”

The pool at Benny's is about five yards shorter than a regulation pool, which makes a huge difference when it comes to training.

“That alone is incredible,” Schanz's trainer Michael Woodward told KHQ. “Every meet you go to, you're racing in a pool that's longer than the pool you train in.”

“I'm always exhausted at the end of races,” Emma said. “But I do a lot of endurance training to help with that stuff.”

Schanz only sees her coaches with the Spokane Waves swim team twice each week. Otherwise, she trains daily with a clock and a stopwatch.

Schanz says the unique conditions at Benny's haven't slowed her down. And it appears she's right. She won a gold medal in the 200-meter breast stroke at junior nationals in December, and this summer she'll head to UCLA on scholarship to swim for one of the best programs in the country. But it all began at Benny's.

“When I jump in, I feel at home,” Schanz said.

“If you have a goal, set it, and just go for it. Because dreams do come true.”

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