Amy Lubawy kept thinking she had reached a plateau in her swimming career.
Despite constant reminders from her mom and friends that she was battling a shoulder injury, the Bishop Gorman senior did not believe she was improving in the pool at an appropriate rate.
“It was really hard knowing what I could do when I was younger,” Lubawy said, “and then seeing what I was doing now that I’m older when I should have been going a lot faster.”
Lubawy’s anxiety over her progress was finally put to rest May 24 at the Division I state swimming and diving meet.
The Tennessee signee annihilated the state-meet records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle as Gorman won its fifth straight large-school title, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Division I girls swimmer of the year ended her career as the fastest female in Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association history.
“I think the times that I have now are where I should be, and last year I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be where I knew I could have been if I wouldn’t have gotten injured,” Lubawy said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to do what I did. I think a lot of it was the pressure that we needed to win this year and we actually had to really go for it.”
Lubawy, who burst onto the scene as a freshman by winning state titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle, said she began experiencing discomfort in her left shoulder during her sophomore year. Last season, Lubawy was unable to fully train yet won the 50 free at the state meet in 23.50 seconds, just off the meet record of 23.48 set by Alyssa Cady of Silverado in 2004.
Doctors originally thought Lubawy’s pain was related to a snowboarding accident years earlier when she broke her collarbone. After a third opinion, Lubawy finally was diagnosed last summer with two tears in her rotator cuff.
“I kept asking, ‘Why did it have to happen to me?’ ” Lubawy said. “I didn’t do something stupid like go out and get hurt like on an ATV or something. It was just my training. Kind of the way my body was built, it just got injured. It was hard accepting that at first.”
Lubawy avoided surgery on her shoulder and went through physical therapy for several months. She also altered her workouts with the BCH Heatwave club program, practicing with the distance swimmers rather than the sprinters.
Lubawy won the 50 freestyle at the Sunset Region meet in 23.06 and went 22.98 during the state meet at UNLV’s Buchanan Natatorium. She added the state title in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.82, nearly a full second ahead of the previous meet record of 50.76 by Marshi Smith of Reno that stood since 2002.
According to the NIAA record book, Lubawy is the first girls swimmer from Nevada to break 23 seconds in the 50 free and 50 seconds in the 100 free during high school competition.
Lubawy is scheduled to participate in the USA Swimming Junior National Championships July 30-Aug. 3 at Irvine, Calif., and hopes to qualify for the national championships the following week. Then it’s off to Knoxville, Tenn., where she expects to major in psychology.
“I hated blaming not feeling well on my shoulder,” Lubawy said. “It took me a while to understand how I was going to be able to come back and still be able to do good. But I’m glad I kept training because I think that’s what helped me be able to get where I am.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.