By Flora Farr, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Oftentimes, little kids go from hobby to hobby the way a bee goes from flower to flower, but imagine yourself as a toddler finding a hobby that you are good at, and deciding that you want to stick with that even in college. For Taft swimmer Emma Guinan that is her reality.
Guinan at regionals in the 200 Freestyle Relay at Josh Davis Natatorium Bill Walker Pool on February 3, 2021.
When Guinan was four-years-old, her parents offered for her to join the trend that her older sister and brother had started, participating in swimming.
“My mom was like, ‘Your sister is doing it, do you wanna do it?’ And I was like, ‘I mean, I guess!’ So I just kinda went along with it…” , Guinan said.
The initial uncertainty turned into something that she loved when she decided to continue with summer league swimming until she was six, started back up with year round club swimming when she was eight, and has been in club ever since. Now, as a sophomore, this dedication shows in the stats, first place in the 200 Freestyle at 2:01.97 and second during the 500 Freestyle at 5:27.7, which allowed her to be named “Swimmer of the Meet” at the Girls’ 28-6A District Swim Meet this year.
Guinan (in red) on the podium receiving first place in the 200 Freestyle race at the 28-6A District Meet on January 23, 2021 at the Northside Swim Center.
Being involved in club and school swimming requires hours out of her already busy academic schedule which includes taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
Guinan said that she spends any free time or break that she gets during the day doing whatever assignment she has at the time. She added, “A lot of it is I just kind of sacrifice myself during the week, and then on the weekends I’ll sleep until like 11 in the afternoon. It’s kind of rough some weeks- some weeks are worse than others, but it all gets done, somehow.”
Guinan also serves The Youth For Change Organization: an organization made up of a group of young adults with goals of advocating for social justice and spreading awareness of current world events.
Bio from The Youth For Change Organization’s Instagram page.
“I really just want to help educate the public and make sure people know what is going on around the world,” Guinan said. “To me this is important because in this digital age it is so easy to misconstrue important information, or even just skip over it entirely. I also think that as Gen-Z, it is super important for us to realize we can make change and it is our job to change what we don’t like about the world, so I just want to make sure I am doing my part.”
A screenshot of an Instagram story posted to introduce Guinan as a part of their team.
She is doing her part by taking on the roles of media director, policy organizer and research team member for the organization. These roles require her to work on setting up an official website for the group, help create two posts a week for their Instagram page, and reach out to other organizations for possible collaboration opportunities.
A post the organization made to celebrate Black History Month (February 1, 2021).
As a student, swimmer, and change seeker, Guinan is striving to be her best self while showing other high school students that they can do the same.