Sarah is a World Champion and US National Teamer. A former Texas A&M standout in the pool and in the classroom, Sarah achieved individual SEC titles 5 times and All-American status 15 times while earning a 4.0 in Biomedical Engineering. As a professional swimmer, she is now one of Team USA’s top butterfliers in all three events- 50, 100, and 200. She is currently training at Team Elite’s east coast site in Charlotte, NC. As she prepares for the 2018 U.S. Nationals, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and ultimately Tokyo 2020, Sarah is pursuing her passion for medical research at the University of California San Diego.
Sarah's list of accomplishments includes:
- 2017 Gold Medalist 4x100 Medley Relay - World Championships
- 2017 NCAA Top Ten Award (1 of 10 senior athletes from all divisions selected for achievement in athletics, academics, and leadership)
- 2016 Gold Medalist 4x100 & 4x50 Medley Relay - SC World Championships
- 2016 Olympic Trials finalist 100 Fly
- 15x All-American at Texas A&M
"I am deeply honored to become an ambassador for Fike Swim. I was introduced to The Brick while visiting a club team near my relatives, and it was love at first kick set. Such ingenious designs intrigue intellectually as they challenge physically, providing a perfect blend for swimmers in general, and myself in particular."
"Sarah is the perfect addition to our team. Extraordinary work ethic, intelligence, and potential seem to be common traits in our group. She’s capable of being the next dominant butterflier, from 50 to 200, and I can’t wait to see what the next two years bring for her!” -James Fike, Founder Fike Swim
Q&A with Sarah Gibson
Q: Who is your coach and which team do you compete for?
A: "I am currently swimming for Team Elite under David Marsh."
Q: How did you get into swimming?
A: "I remember driving by the neighborhood pool on Monday nights, when it was set up for summer league duel meets, and asking my parents what was going on. They told me it was competitive swimming and asked me if I’d like to try it out. I said sure, but soon found out swimming took a lot of work! I tried to quit, but my parents insisted I finished the season. “Mom, Dad,” I complained in exasperation, “I can’t even get across the pool by myself.” “Well, you won’t with that attitude,” my dad replied. “And after one long summer of fears and tears, I quickly found out I was at home in the water."
Q: What is your favorite event?
A: "My favorite event is the 200 butterfly. I know, sounds a bit crazy, but bear with me here. I started swimming the 200 fly the summer after my sophomore year of college because I wanted to swim something other than the mile at NCAAs. It’s always been something I personally chose to do, instead of feeling obligated or forced by my coaches, so it gives me agency. The bit where other people think you’re hardcore is a plus, too."
Q: How many yards per week do you train?
A: "48,000-55,000, depending on the time of year and my out-of-water training schedule."
Q: What does an average set look like?
A: "My all-time favorite kick set:
3 x [ 4 x 50s @ 1:00, +:10 rest then
[200 negative split, desc. by round
For the 200s, I aim to start around 2:50 and work down to 2:30. Some days that’s doable, others... well, it’s the intent that counts, right?"
Q: What are your 2018 competition goals?
A: "I hope to qualify for the 2018 Pan Pacific Games. Worlds this past summer was such an amazing opportunity. I never had the experience of being surrounded by the best athletes in the world. It was both inspiring and humbling. I am excited to train every day, now that I know how far I have still to go. It’s the greatest honor and gravest privilege I’ve known in my life to see my name alongside the stars and stripes, and it’s one I hope to repeat."
Q: What are your practice goals to help you reach your race goals?
A: "I commit to implementing whatever technical corrections my coaching staff thinks are needed while maintaining the intensity I need to be successful from both a cardiovascular and a musculoskeletal viewpoint. My philosophy is to never leave workout feeling anything but exhausted and fulfilled."
Q: Favorite dryland exercise?
A: "I dance ballet, which combines strength, flexibility, and body control. It’s also something new to me, so it provides a good mental flex as well."
Q: Favorite post-workout meal?
A: "Chocolate milk. Love it, drink it every day, like a post-practice reward."
Q: Swimmer role model and why
A: "Two, actually. First is Breeja Larson, who took me under her wing when I arrived at Texas A&M and was really struggling to survive the new training regimen. She believed in me when I couldn’t, and without her support I would not have remained on the team.
The second person is Katie Meili, who inspires me with her work ethic and positive disposition. She’s been a great asset in my transition to Team Elite and professional swimming, and her pursuit of law school while training is nothing short of amazing. She is the kind of scholar-athlete I aspire to be."
Q: Non-swimmer role model and why
A: "Michael DeBakey was a great medical pioneer, teacher and cardiovascular surgeon who advanced medical care for thousands of patients. I am inspired by his talent and ambition to help others as well as his interests and knowledge ranging across a broad spectrum of disciplines both within and outside of medicine."
Q: Something most people don't know about you
A: "I was diagnosed with congenital heart disease during my sophomore year of college. The first cardiologist I saw wanted me to stop swimming, but I found doctors willing to let me give it a try. A few weeks after my diagnosis, I qualified for Olympic Trials for the first time."
Q: What do you enjoy most about doing swim clinics?
A: "My success as a swimmer is not based on natural gifts. I struggled to get where I am today. And I love sharing that message of success based on hard work and perseverance with developing swimmers of all ages. And in working with all ages I get to relive each stage in my own development, rediscover the joy of swimming before it was a career, and hopefully help them avoid mistakes I made. When kids walk away from my clinics I hope they take those messages with them and understand that anything is possible with enough determination and enough curiosity to keep questioning the status quo."