A North County native who destroyed local records as a kid will compete in the Olympic Trials later this month.
Kendyl Stewart of Carlsbad said she feels ready to break through into the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
“I think it will be exciting to see because I finally have made progress,” she said.
Stewart attends University of Southern California, where she’s the senior captain and an eight-time All-American swimmer. She stands alone in the Trojan record books.
How did it all start? Her mom enrolled her in water safety classes at a young age. That was enough to stir her passion for swimming.
And long before she accepted a scholarship to USC, she had a bigger dream of swimming in the Olympics. Stewart competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Trials as a 13-year-old.
Four years later, a high school senior at the time, she competed again in the 2012 London Olympic Trials.
Now 21, Stewart finds herself gearing up for her next shot, this time with a legitimate chance at making the team.
“There is more pressure. It is more exciting in that sense,” she said. “But I really do try to keep the pressure off a little bit.”
Her signature even is the 100M butterfly – a full sprint where muscle mass makes a difference.
After some hard work in the college weight room, she feels ready.
“I’ve gained 10 pounds of muscle,” she said. “For me, I’m like, ‘Woohoo.’ For other girls, they’re like, ‘Oh please, seriously.’”
Stewart said her secret to success is pretty simple. It’s something she learned a long time ago while swimming her hometown club team, North Coast Aquatics.
“It’s important for me to maintain the love of the sport or else it’s a drag because it’s a lot of work to put in if you’re not totally enjoying it,” she said.