By Sukhmani Kaur
The thundering voice of the crowd amplified as the ace swimmer made her way to the starting point of the race. Tightening the swimming goggles across both ears, she looked ahead to the other side of the pool, envisioning her goal to win the championship for her team yet again. Feeling the expectations from her friends, family, and teammates upon her shoulder, the determined swimmer began to swim across the pool at the sound of the whistle. However, her vision to carry the championship trophy promptly came to an end and transformed into her placing multiple ice packs on her injured body.
Senior and varsity swim captain, Morgan Hopp possesses admirable qualities that differentiates her from many other swimmers. Hopp’s one true passion is swimming, as seen with her childhood connection with the sport.
Hopp casually began swimming at the age of three. However, it wasn’t until the age of 11 that Hopp joined the Rattler’s Swim Club and began to formally train in the sport. From the start, Hopp knew that swimming was the sport she envisioned herself playing for the rest of her life, but her parents were not too keen on the idea.
“They made me play other sports, like softball, but my heart was still attached with swimming. I finally won them over in sixth grade and they allowed me to formally join a club team and train all year long,” Hopp said.
Since then, Hopp’s swim journey has been remarkable as she became one of the best players on the club’s team. Hopp’s training with the swim club allowed her to make the Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) varsity swim team as a freshman and eventually become the team captain in her junior and senior year.
Furthermore, Hopp also became an exceptional swimmer on the school team by providing the team with many victories throughout the years. As a freshman, Hopp placed second in the 500 yard freestyle and the 100 yard backstroke races. During her sophomore year, Hopp again placed second in the 100 backstroke competition, but won the 500 freestyle race. In 2012, she also took part in multiple events of the Junior Olympics. Hopp’s success in swimming is due to the hardworking and determined attitude she possesses towards her performance in the sport.
“I like pushing my limits because it helps me focus and helps me learn how to work towards small goals that help me in the end because I have to work all season long,” Hopp said.
However in her junior year, Hopp was unable to win more accolades for her team due to the injury she acquired in the championship meet in March 2015. Hopp was aware of the pain that was building up in her shoulder due to the extensive swim practices, but she chose to ignore the pain because she felt that it was temporary. During her championship meet, Hopp failed to complete the race as the pain became overwhelming and overshadowed her performance. She fractured her scapula, making her incapable to participate in any of the following swimming competitions for an entire year.
After a year, Hopp has finally recovered from the injury and is now slowly making her way back into the pool. With her last year on the high school swim team, Hopp not only looks forwards to performing her utmost best in the last few races left of the season, but also wants to compete in the swim relay race with her sister, fellow freshman, and varsity team member, Alexis Hopp.
“Swimming is an individual sport. It’s always you versus clock. Relay races is the only time you can work with your teammates. This being my last year on the team, and the only year my sister and I will be together on the team, I would like to participate in a relay race with her for her first and my last time,” Hopp said.