By Josey Morris
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
She recites the words on repeat in her head.
She gets in position on the block.
The only sounds she hears are the thumping of her heart and the shuffling of her opponents.
She waits for the whistle so she can take off.
She propels herself off of the block. The coolness of the water engulfs her body and shocks her, but adrenaline immediately takes the place of her chills.
She glides through the water, pushing her body to go faster so she can finish before her opponents.
Following the meet the remnants of those words still imprinted on her hand provides her with the knowledge that Christ was right alongside her in the water.
Phillippians 4:13. To many people this is simply just another Bible verse, but to freshman Alivia Jackson that slight bunch of words has a profound effect on her.
Alivia has formed her own tradition of writing this particular verse on her hand prior to a competition. Anytime she begins to feel nervous she merely glances at the verse and it reassures her that God has her back.
God is a crucial part of Alivia’s life. She invariably bases her swimming around Him.
While God helps Alivia improve spiritually, there are other people in her life that assist her physically.
Mrs. Alison Jackson, assistant swim coach, continuously pushes Alivia more and more to evolve into a better swimmer.
Although to Alivia it isn’t Mrs. Jackson, it’s mom.
Alivia admits that she doesn’t always listen to her mom’s critiques because it makes her mad.
To Alivia even though there are some disadvantages to her mom being the coach, they don’t outweigh the advantages.
“She’s always there to help me, and I can always rely on good critiques and always getting what I need even though it’s not always what I want,” Alivia says.
Alivia is swimming in multiple events this winter. These include the 200 and 500 freestyle swims, the 100 backstroke, and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Mrs. Jackson hopes Alivia is a great addition to the team this season and even proceeds to make the IHSAA State Finals. However, her biggest expectation for Alivia is that she pushes her teammates to exceed their potential.
“She pushes those around her to work harder,” Mrs. Jackson says. “She is very encouraging, upbeat and positive.”
Alivia’s teammates aren’t the only ones she pushes to be better, though.
Mrs. Jackson says that Alivia questions her about the ideas and plans for the team’s meet and practices. Mrs. Jackson believes this makes her a better coach because it encourages her to contemplate exactly why she came up with those ideas.
Mrs. Jackson accepts the criticism and is pleased that Alivia is so confident, but she says there are times where she has to keep Alivia’s head on straight and assist her to stay grounded.
Alivia’s arrival at Delta has been anticipated for a while now. She has always been a notable swimmer, but her talent doesn’t stop there. Alivia strives to become the best she can be.
Six days a week, two hours a day, followed by strength training. In addition to all of the training for swimming she does, Alivia is a part of multiple extracurriculars at Delta.
Alivia is a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Chick-fil-A Leaders Academy, Student Council, class president, Spanish Club, president of Science Club, Riley Dance Marathon, track and swimming.
How is she able to handle all of that?
Her motivation is fueled by doubt.
“I’ve always been told that I do too much, and I’m not going to be able to keep up with it all,” she says, “but it always makes me want to push back and do more things.”
There are multiple factors to being able to handle stress. Some people listen to music, some do yoga, and some read.
“God brings me peace in times of chaos and when it gets busy,” she says. “I’ve found that I can always pray about anything bothering me. Whenever I need peace, I know God will give me that.”