For now, superstars are missing from the powerhouse Andover girls swimming team, which has won the last four Division 1 state titles, but quality standouts remain.
Foremost this year is Soojin Kim, a senior captain who leads the Golden Warriors in points and has qualified for the Division 1 state meet in all eight individual events.
Kim, who also swims for Crimson Aquatics, placed sixth last fall at the Division 1 state meet in the 100 freestyle, with three of the five swimmers in front of her from Andover. She also was the leadoff leg on the 200 freestyle relay team that came in second.
“She’s having a great season and her energy and personality do so much for the team,” said Andover coach Marilyn Fitzgerald.
With the spotlight on her much brighter this year, we went Around the Horn with Kim to find out about the pressure of being an Andover swimmer, her Korean background and her passion for the sport.
What kind of expectations do you have for yourself and the team after losing so many stars from last year’s team?
“I wanted me and the other three captains to mold the team so that we’re as strong as we can be. For me, I just want to perform better than I did last year.”
Do you feel pressure being in a program with such a rich tradition?
“Absolutely. The target is always on our back, but I think it adds good pressure and motivates us.”
When did you start swimming and why?
“I started when I was 5 years-old. My older sister (Monica) was a swimmer. We have a swimming family.”
What’s your family background?
“I’m Korean. I was born in this country, but my parents were born in Korea. They’re divorced and my mother lives back in Korea. I was legally adopted by my aunt.”
Are you proud of your Korean heritage?
“A lot of people think I’m Chinese, but I’m definitely proud to be Korean. We don’t (engage) in a lot of the customs, but I like that I have a Korean background.”
How long have you lived in Andover?
“We moved here (from Billerica) the summer after the eighth grade.”
Why did you move?
“It was for the education. My sister went to Concord Academy, which doesn’t have swimming, and I didn’t want to take that path. I wouldn’t have been able to swim if I went to Concord and that would have made me so sad.”
What do you like so much about swimming?
“I get asked that question a lot and it’s hard to answer. It just feels right when I’m in the water. I feel at home.”
Do you do any other sports?
“Swimming takes up most of my time, so I haven’t. I hope to try more sports in college.”
What is a favorite interest of yours when you are not swimming?
“I really like this Web site TED, where you get a different perspective on things. I really like learning outside of school.”
What are your college plans?
“I want to go to a Division 3 school. I want to get an education and also swim, but I want to go somewhere where I’m not so wrapped up (in swimming) that I can’t socialize and do other things.”
What do you plan on majoring in and do you have a tentative career goal?
“I really don’t know at this point. I’m thinking about economics and maybe getting in the media and entertainment field. I just want to be successful at whatever I do.”
How are you doing academically?
“I’m doing pretty well. My GPA is 3.9 and I got a 1,910 on my SATs, but I’m going to take them again and hope to do better.”
Book: Into the Wild
Author: Ellen Hawkins. I love any book written by her
TV show: Castle
Movie: Les Miserables
Food: Fried ravioli
Teacher: Mr. (Eric) Pellerin, my English teacher
Music: I like all kinds
Vacation spot: Bahamas. We went there when I was 8.