Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.
COLVILLE, Wash. - If a community does not have at least a few pools it is not generally the kind of place that is producing swim champions. But there is one young woman in Colville working hard to overcome long odds.
If you want to reach the top of your game, you have to put in the work, and morning and night, 17-year-old Emma Schanz puts in that work.
Stretching her abilities, she has become the top swim recruit in Washington State, and one of the best in the nation.
Her times are incredible; she has already qualified for the Olympic trials in five events. Imagine accomplishing that through thousands of grueling training hours in a remote logging town and a hotel pool.
Benny's Colville Inn, the only place in town with an indoor pool. Benny's has bragging rights to some of the biggest fish and now the hometown girl who swims like one.
"I see her in the pool almost every morning," said Tom Robinson, the maintenance man at Benny's Colville Inn.
"She gets up and comes and swims in the morning and I'm not up by then," said Andy Hydorn, the owner of Benny's Colville Inn.
Hydorn has watched Emma train seriously here since she was 13-years-old.
"I would say it's pretty unusual," said Hydorn.
Her situation is not just unusual; experts tell us it is just about unheard of.
"Some people don't believe me," said Schanz.
She works out about four hours daily and who knows what she will encounter each time.
On any particular day, this Olympic prospect has to negotiate around everything from the kid with the noodle to a swim party of little girls.
"It's a little bit hard because there are a lot of people here sometimes," said Schanz. "I actually kicked someone in the side on accident. But I felt really bad about that."
It is bound to happen. The pool is about five yards shorter than regulation, and without warning flags, the backstroke can be dicey.
Schanz said she has smacked her head into the wall of the pool during her practice.
And the pool is shallow, so there is no diving, which is the way every swimming competition begins.
"I mean that's kind of the unfortunate part because it's so shallow here, but I just kind of have to work with what I have," said Schanz.
She does have a bit of traditional training time. She spends weekends with the Spokane Waves Aquatic team.
But the bulk of her training happens solo.
"And that's kind of the hard part too. There's no one here to watch me and tell me if I'm doing something good or bad or right or wrong," said Schanz.
She's doing something right. Right enough for 140 different colleges to ask her to join their team next year. She is a shining example that you do not always need the best tools to be the best.
"That's all that I really need is water and a lane," said Schanz.
Imagine what she will achieve when she has something more.
She has settled on UCLA for next year which has six different pools.
"It's crazy to think like going from Colville to LA," said Schanz.
Soon her journey will take her to a big city, but she will never take for granted this imperfect, little pool.
"I'm going to have so many good memories. And I think I'm actually going to miss it," said Schanz.
She plans to head to UCLA ten days after graduation to start training with her new team.