Students in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades at Westport Heights Elementary had their first Ready, Set, Gold! visit from Olympic swimmer Rada Owen. The group of 200-plus students learned about Owen's Olympic experience and how she developed a passion for coaching and helping others.
Owen will be working with 5th grade students at Westport Heights during the 2019-2020 school year and she told the students how one of her biggest passions in life is helping others reach their own goals. While she never thought she would become a coach, she now can't imagine doing anything else.
She told the students that it's OK to not hit your goals, but that is not an excuse to stop and settle. Instead, students need to use that energy to fire them up and try again!
When Owen started swimming, she never said that she wanted to compete in the Olympics. She just wanted to be the fastest one in the pool. From a young age, Owen understood that swimming could fully support her college education and that was something that she wanted to do for her parents. She stressed that it can be easy to sometimes lose site of the big picture so it can be extremely helpful to have small goals to keep your mind focused.
Owen's goal setting guided her to Auburn University and, later, the Olympic Games. As an Olympian, she said she feels fortunate to have a platform to work with students because she believes so strongly in them and knows that they can do anything they set their mind to.
In her life, Owen learned that to achieve her goals, big or small, there were two things that she needed to maintain: a healthy and fit lifestyle. Owen couldn’t afford to be sick so she made sure to eat foods that fueled her body, she stayed active, and she slept enough so that her body could recover and be energized for another day of working toward her goals.
She made a point to tell students that working to be healthy and fit wasn't always easy and that it could be a real struggle at times. When she was in high school, she couldn’t do all the same things that her classmates where doing, like going to parties, sleeping in or eating poorly. If she did those things it would have set her back from reaching her goals. She focused on the big picture and followed her dream.
Owen's excitement in working with the students was extremely clear as she told them that her goal isn't just to work with them this school year, but rather that she wants to teach these students about the importance of adopting a lifestyle well into the future.