Teen2Teen- Sean Christianson is Swimming in the Fast Lane.
Aug 11, 2019 07:30PM
● By Melissa Emerzian
Getting His Feet Wet
It was a mere three months after Sean Christianson's first steps that he started swimming. “I had my first lesson at about 1 and have been in the pool since then. My first lessons came from my parents, who taught me the basics like the flutter kick and freestyle. Then my parents started to take me to swimming lessons.”
Christianson remembers feeling grateful for the opportunity his parents gave him to receive private instruction. He loved being in the water and improving from the lessons so much that he wanted to do more, and joined a swim team at age 8.
From Dolphin to Wolverine
Christianson got his competitive start on the Loomis Basin Dolphins recreational swim team, swimming at
local meets during the summer. “My mom told me that swimming is a life skill and that she would keep me in lessons or on a swim team until either I moved out of the house or became Michael Phelps.” Motivated by his parent’s commitment to support his swimming endeavors, he once again found himself wanting to take his swimming to the next level.
It was five years ago that Christianson joined the Wolverine Athletic Club (WAC) and made the jump from summer swimming and local meets to year-round, nation-wide competitions. When he first swam for WAC, Christianson found himself at the back of the slowest lane. While he didn't enjoy it, it was the motivating factor for him to be better. “I really didn’t want to be in the back. I admired the older kids in the group. I admired their effort and work ethic, and the older kids inspired me to work harder.”
Success and Challenges
With Sean’s powerful motivation for swimming has come great success. His record fast times allow him to compete at the national level. However, even with all of his fast times and qualifications for special competitions, Sean considers his greatest success to come from the lessons he has learned from swimming. “Learning from both the good and bad experiences makes you not only a better athlete but a better person.”
Nothing has tested this theory more than being diagnosed with diabetes two years ago. “I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on April 7, 2017, right after 6th grade science camp.” Rather than letting his diagnosis be a barrier, he has taken on the challenge and found ways to continue to swim toward his goals, while managing his glucose levels. To function well during a period of intense exertion, he makes sure to eat and take his insulin before getting into the pool. “Being a successful athlete and a diabetic is challenging, I always have to make sure that my blood sugars are at a good level to swim. I swim 3-5 miles, six days a week. Sometimes this means I have to stop in the middle of practice and tend to my needs. Diabetes definitely makes it harder, but at the end of the day it makes it all that more rewarding.”
Fun Facts about Christianson
What one word describes you?
I would say the word determined suits me well. Living with diabetes is hard and I have my moments, for sure, but I refuse to let it define me. I am determined to not let anything get in my way of pursuing my dream of becoming an Olympic swimmer!
What is your favorite song to listen to before you compete?
I have many great songs that I like to listen to before competing but the two that I listen to the most are “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones.
If you could have music playing underwater what would it be?
I love 70ś- 90ś music so if I had music playing under water it would be this genre.
How do you celebrate after a meet or milestone?
I like to celebrate by hanging out with my family and friends.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
I would want to have the ability to breathe underwater
What is your favorite stroke?
Backstroke is my favorite.
What is the best part about competing?
The best part about swimming and competing, in my opinion, are the friends you make and the satisfaction of knowing that all of my hard work has paid off. I have made a lot of friends from all across the country.