Like a growing number of the state’s best high school athletes, Natalie Neuwirth only competes in one sport.
But, the Stevens Point Area Senior High swimming standout likes to keep her training routine well-rounded.
“I just like to stay like a multi-sport athlete even though I’m not in other sports,” Neuwirth said. “I like to run every day. If I don’t get my run in, I don’t feel fit for the pool.”
Neuwirth, who started swimming competitively when she was 5 years old, still likes to draw from her experiences in other sports, just to keep things fresh.
“I used to be a gymnast for seven years,” Neuwirth said. “I still am on my trampoline on my backyard every day for an hour.”
The various training methods have made her fit to compete in a wide range of events.
“She is the definition of an all-around swimmer. She’ll swim in any event.,” SPASH coach Ben Hall said. “All of her strokes are fundamentally strong, and she has this natural ability to get up and go and the drop of a dime.”
The three-time state qualifier has some unfinished business. She has flirted with the top-three places, taking fourth in the 200 freestyle her freshman and sophomore year, and claiming fifth in the 50 freestyle a year ago.
The goal for 2012 is pretty clear-cut.
“I want top-three, I really want top-three,” Neuwirth said. “Besides that, I want to get my best times and I just want to be better as a swimmer. I just have to focus on the little things this year that will help me be a better overall swimmer.”
Her coach knows that she has put in the work to help her claim one of the elusive top spots.
“I think she’s already been putting in the extra work outside of the pool practices, she’s going above and beyond making sure she does dome dry land exercises, ” Hall said. “I think that’s really going to help when we get to the end of the season.”
Hall believes that Neuwirth’s drive is what ultimately sets her apart.
“When she sets a goal for herself, she’s out there making sure that she does the necessary work to get that goal,” Hall said. “You don’t have to pusher her. There’s a lot of internal motivation going on there.”
While improving upon past finishes is a clear priority for Neuwirth, her career likely will continue beyond the high school level. She hopes to swim at the collegiate level, but is unsure of where that goal will take her.
“I’m going to kind of let it come to me. I have no experience with this recruiting stuff,” Neuwirth said. “It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s fun. I’m just going to see where it takes me.”