Jillian Barczyk decided her stroke was freestyle when she was 16.
“I had a really good breakout meet and that’s when I fell in love with it, but it was something I learned over time,” Barczyk said.
Barczyk, a freshman swimmer at Georgia, no longer exclusively focuses on freestyle. While swimmers have their individual strengths, the Bulldogs like to have everyone practice all the strokes.
A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Barczyk began her swimming career at 4 years old. Barczyk’s mom Colleen was a Division I swimmer in college and later became her club coach, which allowed Barczyk to grow up by the pool. Her older sister Jillian is a senior swimmer at TCU.
Barczyk said that while she loved freestyle in high school, she did not have much time to work on the technical side of it. However, since starting her freshman year at Georgia, she has had more time to hone her craft.
“Now at Georgia, everyone’s schedules are the same," Barczyk said. "I will stay late and work with our [assistant coach Stefanie Williams Moreno].”
Moreno will give Barczyk drills, usually with a snorkel. Barczyk will stay late on Tuesdays and Thursdays to work on specific drills, including one that calls for extending one arm straight, pulling out instead of down. The drill helps strengthen Barczyk's shoulder, which occasionally flares up.
While freestyle is her main event, Barczyk practices every stroke along with the rest of the team.
“I swim everything,” Barczyk said. “I just prefer freestyle.”
At home, Barczyk swam both the 100-meter to the mile-long swim. At Georgia, she wants to focus more on distance.
She will add butterfly to her repertoire this season on top of freestyle at her coaches' request. Barczyk said she is ready to take on the challenge.
“I trust [the coaches] completely,” Barczyk said.