Swimmer Sumi Chen Overcomes Setbacks at the Beginning of the Season


Credit to Ella Manthey

FHN swimmer competes in the backstroke.

By Natalie Newport, Excalibur Reporter

Junior Sumi Chen is one of Francis Howell North’s top swimmers and she is also a member of the Winterguard team. Chen was looking forward to a strong swim season this year and hoping to make big achievements, until she faced a foot injury. She broke her fifth metatarsal, or her pinky toe, during winterguard practice, after she landed on her foot wrong while jumping. This happened in early November, right when the swim season started, and Chen was out for three months.

“I was very much upset because I really wanted to make it to state this year. I just thought ‘Oh if I broke my foot then maybe I can just rest for a week or two,’” Chen said. “But, I forgot about the obvious fact of that I have to be able to kick off the wall, I have to jump, and dive off blocks. So even if I could kick in water, I still can’t actually swim.” 

Having Chen off the team affected the swim team greatly. The already small team was now missing one of their best swimmers.

“It was kind of a yikes moment because she’s probably one of the strongest swimmers on the team,” team captain Hannah Miller said. “Also just not having her at practice kind of messes with the way the team goes because she’s such an internal part of making each practice run smoothly.”

During her time out of swim, Chen still continued to help the team by coming to practices and coaching the new girls who have never swam before.

“While I was injured I was up nn the deck coaching along with our coaches for a while until I had my cast on because I wasn’t allowed to be on the pool deck, but I did coach for a while and I was actually pretty proud of the improvements I saw,” Chen said.

Although she was injured, Chen stayed in shape so she could be prepared for the rest of the season when she returned. Her teammates will support her making it to state during season 2019/2020.

“It’s a setback because when you’re not training, your endurance goes down a lot so you’re not able to swim as long and hard as you used to,” Chen said.

Chen strives to make improvements, and keeps a positive mentality despite this setback to make the next season greater.

“Sumi has an attitude that you kind of want as a teammate,” Junior Maria Lindquist said. “She always strives to better herself. She cheers on everyone on the team and she doesn’t think less of anyone.”