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Q&A with Maury HS swimmer Jackie Scheneman

Jackie with her record-breaking relay team for Maury High School. (Courtesy: Scheneman family)

NORFOLK, Va. — Jackie Scheneman is a senior swimmer at Maury High School. She also swims at the Old Dominion Aquatic Club. Outside of the pool, Jackie Scheneman’s friendly and lighthearted attitude shines. She can often be found having a good time, laughing, chatting and simply enjoying being with others. She credits swimming with bringing her all of her closest friends and admits that the relationships she has formed through her 10 years of training are her favorite part of swimming.

However, friends aren’t the only reason she puts forth so much time and energy into competitive swimming. Whether she’s at practice or diving off the block at a meet, Jackie’s competitive side comes out and she attacks the water and her next challenge.

“Every day I go into practice hoping to become better in some way.” And on meet days, she leans into that hard work she put in at practice and ‘trusts the training,’ like her Old Dominion Aquatic Club (ODAC) coach, Steve, has taught her.

Courtesy: Scheneman family

As a 2022 graduate of Maury High School, Jackie has spent much of the year working with her ODAC coach and college recruiters to see if she can continue her swimming career in college. Jackie has decided to take the second chance offered by the women’s head coach of the Naval Academy and will be swimming for a preparatory school, Mercersburg Academy, for the 2022-23 school year. “As long as I maintain my grades, I’m guaranteed a spot in the class of 2027. I’m hoping that this extra time will allow me to meet the swimming standards, especially since I am already so close.”


What is your biggest challenge in your sport, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

Jackie Scheneman: I think my biggest challenge is my own mind. I know that I have to put in the work, but sometimes I find it hard to believe in myself whenever I am trying to swim a best time or try something new within a race. I have found the best way to combat this is to lie to myself, or fake it till I make it. I find if I pretend I have already achieved or surpassed my goal it comes easier.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Scheneman: My first year on ODAC, my coach told us that “to be on time is 15 minutes early, and on time is late.” There are 10 things that require absolutely zero talent, and the first one is to be on time. Through Coach Steve, I have learned the importance of punctuality, as it is also a form of respect if you are meeting with someone.

What do you like to do outside of your sport?

Scheneman: Outside of swimming, I work at a local bakery called Pownd Cakes by Jen. We specialize in a super moist non-traditional pound cake. We sell cakes in our mini cake which is a single serving every day in 20+ different flavors and offer samples of each of the cakes. If you are reading this you should definitely come in and give our cakes a try!

How would you describe your personality?

Scheneman: I am very easy going and love to be spontaneous, but I also thrive on a set schedule. I think I’m friendly and I enjoy a good challenge both academically and athletically.

What is your favorite snack food?

Scheneman: At meets I have found that I really enjoy trail mix. Specifically the peanut butter monster which is only sold at Target.

What is your favorite song or music artist to get you ready for a game?

Scheneman: It completely depends on my mood that day. I could be in the mood for anything from: country, alternative, classic rock, or hip-hop. I think I am one of few people I know that doesn’t have a set ‘pump up playlist’. Although someone who never fails to hype me up is Nicki Minaj.

Do you have a pregame ritual you follow?

Scheneman: No, I am extremely superstitious, so I try to stay as far away from rituals as possible (I know it seems contradictory). My fear is that one day I’ll be at a very important meet and maybe won’t have time for my ritual. I don’t want its absence to affect my performance.

Courtesy: Scheneman family

What has being a member of a team taught you?

Scheneman: Although swimming is an individual sport, it really is all about the team. I am fortunate enough to be a member of a very supportive team. My teammates on ODAC are often found crowding at the end of a teammate’s lane during their race or shouting in the weight room in order to motivate someone who may be struggling to finish a rep. We do such a good job looking out for each other, as we know that our team is only as good as our weakest member.

What is the best piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor?

Scheneman: The best advice I was ever given was by my coach on my current club team; Coach Steve tells his athletes time and time again to ‘trust the training’. This is personal to me because sometimes I doubt myself. I have to remember that as long as I’m honest with myself in practice and always do my best, then I will achieve what I want in a race situation.

Describe a mistake you made while competing and how you overcame it.

Scheneman: The hardest way to swim a race is by ‘back-halfing’. Back-halfing is a term swimmers use to describe having a faster/stronger second half of your race. This race strategy is hard because you have to trust yourself that you will be able to come back stronger than you began. I used to swim my races by going out as fast as I could and essentially holding on for dear life and praying to God that I could finish. Coach Steve, this season, has been very focused on helping me trust myself, and back half specifically my 200 backstroke. I am a sprinter in backstroke, so I never really understood the word control. Thankfully because I focused every single practice on finishing stronger than I started I was able to end the season with a best time by simply backhalfing my race.

This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.

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