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Volume 68, Issue 62, Wednesday, November 20, 2002


Swimmer has g'days as Cougar

Aussie Williams has breakout debut

By Lauren McFarlane
The Daily Cougar

Freshman Stacey Williams is from the land Down Under, and she's making her way to the top. "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!" reverberates off the walls of the UH Natatorium as she leaves opponents in her wake.

Williams has already won two Conference USA Swimmer of the Week awards this season, the last once coming Tuesday after she won two-of-four events Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.

Born in Perth, Australia, Williams moved to the United States to attend UH with hopes of majoring in hotel management.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Freshman swimmer Stacey Williams has adjusted to live at UH since moving from her native Perth, Australia. The freshman has already won two Conference USA Swimmer of the Week awards this season.

"Houston's a bit rainy," Williams said. "Ever since I have arrived here, I feel like all I have been doing is avoiding rain puddles."

She began swimming in the sixth grade. In Perth she swam for the Arena Swim Club and specialized in butterfly and freestyle sprints.

"My favorite swimmer is Suzy O'Neal," she said. "She is retired now, and my coach always said 'Well that's a spot on the Australian team for you.' Maybe someday."

Since her arrival at UH she has had a rigorous schedule to adhere to, practicing for four hours a day, either through lifting weights or swimming.

"Everything here is new to me," she said. "I have not done weights before, and I am practicing more than I used to."

For Williams, swimming is just habit.

"Once you get to one level, you want to get that bit faster and that bit higher," she said. "There are times in practice where I think, 'I don't want to be doing this,' but I just keep going, and when I get the good results, it re-motivates me."

Outside of swimming, Williams plays intramural volleyball and hopes to participate in triathlons with the cycling team.

Even with all her experience, Williams still gets nervous at meets. Her cure: a banana smoothie and tinned spaghetti on toast between heats.

But Williams said her favorite food is chocolate. "I also love pasta and lasagna. My mum's is the best," she said.

Despite her anxiety at meets, Williams considers herself to have a great support group.

"I look up to all of the girls here, especially the captains. It's great to have supportive people around me, like the other swimmers and coaches. They really motivate me, and it makes such a difference," said Williams.

In the future, Williams said she hopes to make the Australian team and compete internationally. For now, she just wants to make it to the NCAAs.

Williams' coach back home always told her "Per ardua ad astra (through adversity to the stars)." Stacey Williams has become a star herself.
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