Brenna Olander is making a statement as Yukon’s rising talent in the swimming pool.
At 10 years old, Brenna is setting herself up for a long swimming career. She established herself as a force in the junior state meet.
Brenna had several high placings, yet taking first place in the 100-yard backstroke took the cake. Her time of 1:14.50 gave her the state championship.
She also took second place in the 50-yard backstroke at 35.64, third in the 100-yard individual medley at 1:20.91, and third in the 50-yard breaststroke at 42.97.
For Brenna, the commotion and hectic lifestyle of swimming doesn’t bother her. She embraces it.
“Being in the water, it calms me down,” she said. “It runs in the family, and I just love it.”
Her mother, Trisha Olander, was a swimmer well into her college years and then began coaching high school and club teams for 20 years. She encouraged Brenna to test the waters.
“She was always at practice with me when I was coaching and I decided it would be a good idea to put her in the pool and let her go for it,” Trisha said.
The Olanders moved to Oklahoma two years ago from Wisconsin. The swim scene in Wisconsin is more prevalent than Oklahoma, Trisha said, but still as competitive.
It was in their home state that Brenna began her love for the sport, and now is seeing the big picture in Yukon.
Brenna has her sights aimed high, saying she wants to continue her career throughout high school, into college, and eventually be an olympian.
More that anything, she wants to carry on the family legacy.
“I do want the generations passed on for swimming,” Brenna said. “I want my whole family swimming.”
She acknowledges the work it will take to accomplish her lofty expectations.
At 10 years old, she’s making sacrifices most children her age aren’t asked to.
“She makes a lot of sacrifices even at age 10,” Trisha said. “Her friends will be outside playing and she’ll have to leave and go to practice. It’s a lot of doing homework in the car. She’s a straight A student. There are times she has to leave early from school to make these meets and she makes up the work.
“I think she’s learning at a young age, if you really want your goals then you have to make those sacrifices.”
Her sacrifice and dedication helps out in other areas of the sport.
At junior state, one of her teammates was out sick and Brenna was asked by her coach to fill in.
“She was asked to step up in the 200-medley relay because some kids were sick and one of the coaches said they needed her to go between a 33 and 34,” Trisha said. “She said OK and she went at 34, that was a best time for her. She’s one we can depend on.”
Winning or losing, Brenna says she’s found her calling. Competing in the sport she loves is what she enjoys most.
“I get a little nervous because sometimes the pool is cold,” she said. “That’s really the only reason. But when I dive in the water it just relaxes me.”