The Lessons Of Olivia Schwintek


Olivia Schwintek of White Bear Lake Class of 2019

Personal Records:

800m - 2:24.76

1600m - 5:22.01

3200m - 11:53.03

4K (xc) - 15:53.30

5K (xc) - 19:26.00

XC State 2016 - 129th place

XC State 2015 - 97th place

XC State 2014 - 130th place

What sports did you play growing up?

I played soccer from when I was five until I was 14 and entering freshman year. I chose to run cross country in the fall rather than play high school soccer. I had been running varsity cross country and distance track since seventh grade, and couldn't imagine giving it up.

Teammates of mine were in the same situation, and on our team this was the dreaded decision; soccer or cross country. Our cross country coaches have a strong dislike for soccer which they refer to as "the s word." Balancing cross country and soccer throughout middle school always proved to be a challenge as our coaches' always feared injury or overdoing it, but I loved competing in both sports at a high level. I also danced, but quit in fourth grade after deciding to focus more on soccer. 

What sports do you play now?

Along with running Cross Country and Track, I have Nordic skied since seventh grade. I have lettered four times in Track and Nordic Skiing and three times in Cross Country within my seventh through tenth grade school years.

Who are the top seven for the White Bear Lake Bears this year?

The top seven runners on my team are: Maggie Blanding 8th grader, Natalie Andres 9th grader, Josie Moor 11th grader, Maddie Verkerke 10th grader, Haley Miller 11th grader, Claire Larson 11th grader, and myself.

Tell us a little about your summer training?

Yes we all train through the "Summer Endurance Program" that is run by our coaches along with other programs and activities which vary from person to person. Summer running is always a lot of fun and more laid back than in season training. There is a nice balance between getting solid workouts in, such as hill repeats or interval runs along Lake Ave, and enjoying ourselves by playing beach volleyball in the middle of a recovery run or jumping in White Bear Lake for a swim.

Who coaches the distance runners at your school?

Patti Percival, Sue Whirl, and Shannon Grant have always been my Cross Country coaches with Patti and Shannon also coaching me in the spring for Track season. Gary Wilson, the former U of M Cross Country and Track coach, joined our coaching staff for last track season and this Cross country season and has been a great influence on our team.  

My teammates and I are very blessed to have coaches that have a lot of experience and know how to push us, but also remind us that there are more important things in life than running and to make the most of each opportunity we are given to run.  A piece of advice that Patti has always given us is that in running "you get out of it what you put into it."