Female Athlete Profile: Sage Huddleston, Swimming

March 28, 2023


Michelle Hratko

Junior Sage Huddleston swims competitively at the Burlingame Aquatic Club. Staff Illustration: Michelle Hratko

Between the general two-year-old activities of eating, sleeping and throwing temper tantrums, junior Sage Huddleston was already swimming competitively. Swimming became a large part of Huddleston’s childhood, and she began to swim year-round when she was five years old. 

Huddleston took a break from her competitive swimming journey when she was nine because she wanted to participate in other sports like lacrosse, soccer, and ski racing. Her swim team was causing her to miss these opportunities because the team required Huddleston to be at the pool six days a week. “I did not want to commit all my time [to swimming] when I was only nine years old,” she said.

Taking that break allowed her to realize that she wanted to continue swimming because she missed it so much. She did have to slowly stop doing the other sports she had enjoyed when she was younger, as many kids do when they start to specialize in their sport as they get older. 

By the time she was in seventh grade, her focus was solely on swimming. “When I was deciding between something like soccer or swimming, I would always choose swimming,” Huddleston said. She characterizes swimming as often being harder than the other sports she has participated in, but it was still always the one she enjoyed the most. “I think I’ve just always really liked being underwater,” she said. 

Huddleston’s family was always very supportive of her swimming and especially of her process of trying multiple sports before finding the one that she loved. Her dad played lacrosse in college, so he wanted her to continue with it, but ultimately supported her in choosing swimming. “It’s definitely a joke that he is fake mad at me for quitting lacrosse,” she remarked. Her mom was a swimmer, so she is the most involved in Huddleston’s swimming career of anyone in her family. Huddleston appreciates that her parents are supportive and don’t hover over her athletics.  

Huddleston is able to prioritize and accomplish the goals that she sets for herself on her own terms this way. Progress in swimming is tracked by timing at meets, and Huddleston sets goals that take time and hard work for her to accomplish that may only come down to a fraction of a second. Missing by a small margin is a difficult feeling, so when she does finally reach a time she had been working towards, it’s extremely rewarding. After a recent achievement, Huddleston was overcome with emotion. “I just started sobbing because it was such a good feeling to have that weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said. 

Aside from reaching new times, Huddleston always has the goal of maintaining a positive relationship with her sport. “It is really easy to have negative feelings and get burnt out because of the frequency that I swim, so it is always an effort to continue to love the sport,” she said. 

Huddleston also wants to continue swimming after Menlo, though she plans to prioritize academics. Her swim club, the Burlingame Aquatic Club, works to emphasize to their swimmers that a Division III swim team can maintain the level of swimming as a Division I program while still allowing student-athletes to prioritize their academics and have a well-rounded college experience. Because of this, Huddleston is open to all levels of college swimming and just wants to find the best fit for her.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Annie Stent
Annie Stent, Copy Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: writing stories on topics I’m passionate about

Interests outside of school: volleyball, spending time with friends and family, walking my dogs

Class of 2023

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