BEIJING (BP)--Elaine Breeden's swimming career almost didn't get started. Her uncle signed her up for swim lessons when she was 4, but Breeden was too afraid to get into the water.
"I refused to get in, and I remember him chasing me around the pool deck," Breeden said. "He finally won, and I have been swimming ever since."
Breeden, 19, a native of Lexington, Ky., is now happy that her uncle was faster than she was. She's representing the U.S. swim team in Beijing in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly events, her first time to compete in the Olympics.
In the 100-meter race, she advanced to the semifinals but didn't qualify for the finals. She'll begin competition in the 200-meter event Aug. 12.
A product of Trinity Christian Academy in Lexington, Ky., which doesn't have a swim team, Breeden now swims at Stanford University. In a university setting that can often be hostile to Christians, Breeden has found a group of committed believers there as she pursues not only swimming, but her relationship with Christ.
"She's found a very comfortable, encouraging place at Stanford," Breeden's mother Lenore said. "She loves everything about it."
Breeden comes from a Christian home and became a believer at a young age, and the faith that has been nurtured in her since childhood has a profound impact on her as a competitive swimmer.
"Being a Christian affects my athletics more than any other factor," Breeden said. Read More