According to USA Swimming, there are more than 2,800 swimming clubs across the nation training hundreds of thousands of competitive swimmers, each hoping to produce the next dominant, Olympic caliber swimmer. One of those clubs is our very own training squad at Pine Crest, and one of those hopeful, competitive swimmers is our Panther Marta Ciesla from the Class of 2017. Marty, as her teammates fondly call her, started swimming at the age of twelve and has been to six Junior Nationals, working hard to improve her strength, skill, and confidence to attain that coveted slot at the top. She snatched that spot this summer with a victory at the 2015 eighteen and under Junior National Championships in the fifty meter freestyle, dashing to finish with a time of 25.07 seconds. What sets her apart from other competitive swimmers? According to PC Coach Mariusz Podkoscielny, “She has incredible confidence in her ability. It’s very rare. Every level of competition where she [Marta] was a rookie (states, junior nationals, etc) she would go out there with head high, knowing that she belongs there and she is ready to challenge the best. She is not the type to back down.” This fearlessness and drive are on clear display every practice and competition, especially evident during the Junior Championship where she placed first at a tough competition against numerous older swimmers. Furthermore, Ciesla has three individual state championships in three different events to add to her already impressive pedigree. But, Ciesla’s accomplishments do not stop at state and national titles. She is currently ranked sixth in the world for the eighteen and under fifty meter freestyle and thirteenth in the nation of any age. Over the course of her career, Marta has raced Missy Franklin (four-time Olympic gold medalist) and other world competitors; she hopes to continue the trend next summer at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. As far as practice is concerned, Ciesla’s training schedule is as grueling as it gets. For swimmers, there is no off-season, and training is often several hours a day. She admits it is hard to balance academics, athletics, and a social life, but as somebody who dreams of one day competing in college and on a worldwide platform, the massive sacrifice is all just a part of the process. Coach Podkoscielny added, "Marta’s future looks bright, a lot of things need to happen, but she’s had a great start and is very talented. There are many steps along the way that she needs to continue to challenge herself with and improve, but she has the talent and the ability to go far.” While the road to glory is certainly long and unpredictable, Ciesla is clearly on her way. Olympic athletes are unbelievably rare and hard to come by, but there might just be one on our own campus.