By Chloe Hunt '21 After breaking seven North Cross swimming records and being named Blue Ridge Conference Swimmer of the Year, Asia Minnes ‘21 prepares to take her skills to the next level at the University of Tennessee.
“I chose Tennessee because of the team environment and the training aspect. They are very unconventional and take a different approach to their training. As someone who has been swimming for 13 years, I was looking for a place that would make swimming fun again while at the same time pushes me,” Minnes said. “I think swimming in college has always been a part of my plan but over the past few years it's become my main goal to swim in the NCAAs.”
In addition to being an avid swimmer, Minnes has left an indelible impact on campus life as a compassionate person.
“I am so glad Asia came to North Cross,” Olivia Murchison ‘21 said. “In addition to being a really accomplished swimmer, she is just nice to be around, very funny, and thoughtful.”
What students might not know about Asia is how swimming weaved into her cosmopolitan upbringing. Based in Canada, Minnes had not lived more than a year in one spot until she and her family came to Roanoke.
“I’ve traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico, almost all of Canada, and 42 of the states. Traveling around has given me the opportunity to meet so many people and be a part of many different cultures,” Minnes said. “It has taught me to be adaptable, open minded, and adventurous and has shown me that there are so many opportunities out there you just have to be willing to seize them.”
Even after seeing the world, her favorite place to live is Roanoke.
“My favorite place to visit is Caloundra in Australia but I’d have to say my favorite place to live is Roanoke,” Minnes said. “This is the first place I have stayed long enough to really connect with people, make friends, have a routine, and make it somewhere I can call home.”
In addition to this affinity for travelling, Minnes fostered her passion for swimming before the age of one.
“I've been swimming my entire life. I started lessons at just a few months old and joined my first all year round swim team when I was 4 years old,” Minnes said. “I was always really passionate about swimming and that motivated me to pursue it.”
“My favourite thing about swimming is the team aspect,” Minnes said. “It is a really hard sport but being able to have people around me who share blood, sweat, and tears makes it so much easier because I know I'm not alone and it just makes it a lot easier to push through.”
Minnes also said there is a lot of work put in outside of the pool.
“Swimming is a very mentally and physically challenging sport that requires so much dedication because on top of the 19 plus hours in the water and weight room, I need to eat properly, do extra exercises for my shoulders to prevent and help injuries, and I need to do recovery,” Minnes said. “I personally find it is especially hard in the winter when it is extra cold getting in the water and it is dark going to and leaving practice.”
While Minnes takes her craft seriously, she acknowledges the importance of having fun with swimming. She says that in order to be successful in the sport, you must enjoy it.
“My advice to younger swimmers is to enjoy it. Don't worry about not having the best time every race, don't stress about making finals, just go out, do your best and have fun.”