Ella Eastin Heading East in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics?
Championship swimmer Ella Eastin on how she led her Stanford women's swimming team last year and her future in swimming
June 12, 2019
What type of focus, sacrifice and commitment went into becoming a two time NCAA Champion, breaking three NCAA records and achieving Pac-12 women’s swimmer of the year?
“The things that my team and I have accomplished took dedication and persistence on a daily basis. We train an intense 20 hours a week [the NCAA standard] plus time spent recovering in the training room, doing physical therapy, seeing sports psychologists, watching underwater film, and more. Each session in the water is purposeful, focused and tough. With an incredibly talented team, it’s impossible not to have a day-in-day-out competitive environment. This was what made me better every single day.
I sacrifice a good amount of sleep, having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. multiple times during the week, but I always know it’s worth it, and have found to appreciate 20 minute naps to rest during the day. I spend most of my time during the week that I am not swimming on my studies. I am a human biology major and I’m preparing for graduate nursing school and absolutely love having something to balance my time in and out of the water.
And I would be lying if I said that handling all of this was easy – it is not, by any means. But at the end of the day, I go to sleep knowing that I put all of my effort into the things that I love and want to pursue.”
In what ways is your work ethic and swimming career influenced by your competition alongside and against the world’s best swimmers, the coaches you have been guided by, and the athletic history of your family.
“The greatest amount of pressure that I feel comes from myself and my constant drive to improve. I have a very good work ethic that I think only dwindles every once in a while. Which actually can get a little tiring, but I think adds to my confidence in my training and preparation. I’m incredibly lucky to have the best [arguably the most talented] training group in the world. I am pushed to be a better version of myself every day and I benefit from having my teammates and coaches hold me to a high standard.
I appreciate them thinking so highly of me that they are willing to hold me accountable to be my better self, when needed. The environment that I am training in suits my work ethic better than anything I have experienced before, and is showing in my results.”
In your final year at Stanford and into your professional swim career, what are you looking to accomplish and in what meets and competitions?
“My main goals include being a part of the next few travel national team trips [this summer at the Pan Pacific Games and next year at the FINA World Championship]. Additionally, I want to be a good leader for the Stanford Cardinals as I go into my last year competing for the university.
I hope to continue to improve in short course at my last NCAA’s and carry the momentum from this year into next year. I will make a decision after my next NCAA’s for my swimming career, and for now I am trying to enjoy the process as my time with the sport is slowly dwindling.”
People often oversee you as a Stanford student, how did you manage to make Pac-12 All Academic first team?
“Just like in the pool, I hold myself to a high standard in the classroom. It helps when you enjoy what you study. I am fascinated by the human body, how it works, how it is able to improve, and perform at such a high level athletically – which has engaged me when I am practicing and continuing to ‘shape’ myself as an athlete.
Studying at [Stanford] has taught me a lot about facing challenges head on, being less afraid to fail and trying to learn as much as possible along the way. It has been a difficult, but worthwhile pursuit in my academic career and I am excited to continue my studies after my time at Stanford.”
Being a young 21, swim has quickly chosen you as your primary pursuit, and your fame is soon set to grow exponentially. Are you daunted by the imminent stardom that your athletic abilities are causing you to become?
“I think that I am going to have a different experience than some of my Olympic-star teammates will have, but I think that my presence in USA Swimming has become more noticed and will help me through the next couple of years.
I love being on travel trips with Team USA and getting to meet the people I look up to and compete against them, and getting to travel the world doing what we love . My ‘fame’ in this little swimming world I don’t think needs to be daunting, but something that I can appreciate as it often comes with great support and hopes for my success.”