Being an athlete and a student can sometimes be a daunting task, especially at Ohio State.
For sophomore women’s swimming and diving team member Michelle Williams, the concept isn’t quite as difficult. In fact, Williams makes it looks easy.
During the 2010 season, Williams was one of just three student athletes at OSU to record a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Williams, whose main events for OSU are the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly, along with some of the relay teams, said that she is able to succeed because swimming helps her manage her time.
“My free time is used to study,” she said.
She said that academics are her priority, followed closely by swimming and family.
“Swimming helps me to be a better student,” she said.
The classroom isn’t the only place where Williams has found success.
The Toronto, Ontario, native will be competing in the Canadian Olympic trials this March.
It will be the second time she has competed in the trials.
The first time around, she knew that she was fighting an uphill battle.
“I have a better shot (this time),” she said.
Williams not only wants to make the Canadian Olympic team, but she wants to succeed.
“Many people make it to the Olympics and then don’t know what to do,” she said. “The next step is to perform.”
Making the team has been one of her goals for a long time.
Williams’ swimming career began when she was 8 years old. Her parents signed her up for a learn-to-swim program and things blossomed from there.
“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to go to the Olympics,” she said.
And, she isn’t the only member of her family to find success in athletics.
Her sister is a gymnast at the University of California, Berkeley and her brother was always involved in high school sports.
“My family is pretty athletic,” she said.
When the trials come around in March she will be trying out for the 4×100 freestyle relay team along with the 100 butterfly, and 50 and 200 freestyle events.
Head coach Bill Dorenkott said he has been emailing the Canadian Olympic team coaches trying to make them more aware of Williams.
“She’s flying under the radar,” Dorenkott said.
Dorenkott is confident that she will make the team.
“She has a great shot,” Dorenkott said. “Myself, her parents, and her club coach might be the only ones that know that.”
It might be hard for a prospective Olympic athlete to stay motivated, but not for Williams. She looks to her competition to stay motivated.
“My rivals in the same events as me are always big influences,” she said.
Her teammates and coaches, both at home and at OSU, are also big influences she said.
“She’s very humble and hardworking, sometimes to a fault,” Dorenkott said. “I love coaching her.”
Williams’ teammate, junior Jackie Brousseau, also spoke highly of Williams.
She said Williams, “is a hard worker and someone who is easy to talk to.”
Brousseau said that it’s a privilege to swim with Williams.
“She always looks to her teammates first,” Brousseau said. “She’s definitely a team player.”
Brousseau said that Williams’ best attribute is her ability to cheer up her teammates.
“We’re up at 5 a.m. every day and sometimes we’re grumpy,” Brousseau said. “She always knows what to say and reminds me of my goals.”
With the Olympic trials being more than a month away, Williams said her focus right now is on the Big Ten championships that will take place mid-February in Iowa City, Iowa.
“The team is really excited and really prepared,” she said.
The women’s swimming and diving team continues its season Friday when they will travel to East Lansing to take on the Spartans.