More than 10 years ago, Lauren Bowling's father first took her to the neighborhood swimming pool. Like many fathers, Mark Bowling wanted his daughter to participate in sports.
That was the first day of what would become a passion.
"I remember, when I was little, Dad put me in a summer league. It was a small team at Fort Gordon when I was 8 years old," Lauren Bowling said. "Now it's a full-time thing. There's a lot of dedication with it."
Bowling has stuck with the sport from summertime swimming in neighborhood swim leagues to a year-round effort as a member of the Aiken-Augusta Swim League. That work paid off last week when the Lakeside senior signed a national letter of intent to swim at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The school, in Greensboro, is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It got one of Lakeside's top swimmers. Bowling was a key reason the Panther swim team won the CSRA Championships each of the past three years.
Those meets weren't the most important to Bowling. Her nine years of swimming experience as a member of the Aiken-Augusta Swim League often produced bigger and more competitive meets. Bowling did admit, though, that she's excited about the upcoming high school season now that her college future has been secured.
"I'm excited because it has been a stressful time, but now I can just focus on my training," she said. "I'm really excited about this year because it's my senior year. I love the high school meets because it's so much more of a team atmosphere."
Bowling has dominated the 100-meter butterfly event at the local level. She said North Carolina A&T swim coach Shawn Hendrix has tappedd her to swim the butterfly and backstroke events in college.
Even with impressive times in the pool already accomplished, Bowling said she still has work to do.
"I want to break a minute in the 100-fly," she said.
"If I do that, it'll be a good year."
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