Cornelia Connelly High School junior Allison Hernandez was less than excited when her parents enrolled her in a swim program for the first time. It took some getting used to, but the pool eventually became a place of joy.
“Originally, I didn’t like the sport at all,” says Hernandez. “I dreaded practice all the time. But as time moved on, I realized that all the practice and hard work was actually paying off. My times were improving, so I became motivated to do better. That’s when I grew into loving swim.”
As a varsity swimmer for the Koalas, Hernandez races the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle events, as well as the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays. Representing Connelly alongside teammates she considers to be her sisters makes competing even more special.
“Even though it is an individual sport, what matters is that you have everyone supporting you,” says the 16-year-old. “We have such a special bond that you can’t compare it to any other school.”
Some of Hernandez’s favorite memories in the sport are centered around swimming with her older sister, Brianna, a Connelly alumnus who is now an assistant coach for
“It’s really nice seeing her in such a leadership position,” says Hernandez. “To see her guiding the other girls and helping them through it is really cool for me. I admire her so much.”
Coach Hernandez recognizes in her younger sister the way she instills confidence in teammates who are new to the sport.
“Allison is not only a great swimmer, but also a great leader on the team,” says Coach Hernandez. “She is always encouraging the other girls and inspiring them to work harder. She has been really helpful with the new swimmers by making sure they felt included.”
Hernandez also runs cross country for Connelly and has served her campus as a member of ASB. When she’s not running or in the pool, the Whittier resident enjoys songwriting and playing the guitar and piano. She knows the lessons learned from the sport can be applied to all areas of her life.
“In swim, it shows that all the hard work you put into it, you will benefit from it,” says Hernandez. “So when it comes to my schoolwork, my grades, anything other than swim, the same applies. All that hard work that you put in to anything you do, you will receive something amazing in return.”
Hernandez likely won’t swim competitively after high school, but she is looking forward to studying business and music. She is grateful for her parents’ support and the way they have modeled faith, hard work and patience.
“In a hard situation, when I feel like I need to give up…I look to God and my faith to tell me it’s okay,” says Hernandez, “because I know that God is going to guide me every step of the way.”