Slow and steady wins the race

Going the distance as she ripples through the water, Shany Ninio, of the Pierce swim team, has been set to kick her way through the long distance swimming competitions rather than speed through it.

In seventh grade, Shany Ninio attended a YMCA Junior Lifeguard Camp. It was there her coach encouraged her to begin swimming. Soon after, she made a splash for the Rattler Swim Club at the San Fernando Regional Pool.

Ninio spent eight years swimming for Rattler. On her ninth and last year competing for a club team, she swam for El Cariso.

With no experience and little technique, it took Ninio about a year to fully train and prepare for competitive racing.

After preparation and with the help of her coaches, Ninio has developed her own technique.

“For me, specifically, I have a really long and slow stroke with my arms. The only thing that really keeps me going is my kick. I have a really strong kick that’s just steady and hard,” Ninio said.

The racing events differ because of distance. The distance can vary from two laps front and back to 64 laps.

Ninio participates in all the long-distance events.

Ninio believes that she and her club coaches thought she was not fast enough for sprinting. At the end of her first year in club, they realized she was a distance swimmer. Her role had then been established and she has been competing in the same event ever since.

Although long-distance racing may seem like the toughest event for most, Ninio has taken on the challenge.

“It’s all mental, I think, for distance. I think I just have a really strong mind where I can not psych myself out so I know I can go fast when I need to,” Ninio said. “I think I have just have a kind of strong mindset in it and that’s what takes me the farthest.”

With the help of her coaches, Ninio believes she works as hard as she possibly can during practices and only hopes the effort reflects in her racing. The key to her success is a positive mindset.

“What you put into it, you get out of it,” Ninio said.

Ninio believes practices should not be a waste of time. Her goal is to put in maximum effort every time she is in the water.

Her devotion and motivation has proved noteworthy to both her coaches and teammates alike.

“She’s always been very, very dedicated and driven to swim as fast as she possibly can,” Mircea Pitariu, assistant swim coach, said. “She is one of the leaders of our swim team this year.”

“She does, I think, some of the hardest events. You know all the long-distance events that honestly nobody would want to do and she’s really good at them. She never complains during practice and she tries hard. She works hard for everything,” teammate Avo Hagopian said.