Megan Fonteno swims for gold
by Nathan Kelly / WRITER
Jun 21, 2012 | 3171 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Megan Fonteno training to become an Olympic contender. (Courtesy of Todd Van Emst)
Megan Fonteno training to become an Olympic contender. (Courtesy of Todd Van Emst)
As most of Auburn’s students are enjoying their summer break away from school, Megan Fonteno is spending her first summer at Auburn training for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Fonteno, freshman in pre-pharmacy, will be racing the 100-meter freestyle as the only women’s swimmer representing American Samoa.

“I’m trying not to worry about the competition I’ll face,” Fonteno said. “I’m just going to focus and swim my own race.”

Fonteno’s parents were both U.S. Marines, so she has been moving around her entire life.

“I was born in Japan,” Fonteno said. “But I’ve lived in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Now my parents live in Jacksonville, Fla.”

During her high school years, Fonteno’s first choice for college was the University of Florida, but after visiting Auburn, she changed her mind.

“The athletic facility at Auburn is one of the best I’ve ever been to,” Fonteno said. “What really set Auburn apart was the atmosphere here. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew it was the place for me.”

Fonteno said swimming has always been a major part of her life.

“When I was six years old, my parents actually signed me up just so I wouldn’t drown,” Fonteno said. “I loved practice. However, when we got to swim meets I was scared to jump in the pool and race people, but I got used to it.”

Fellow swimmer Emily Bos, sophomore in exercise science, said there’s never a dull moment around Fonteno.

With 36 days left until the Olympics, Fonteno said she doesn’t have a lot of time to train and spend time with her family.

“In a few days, I’ll be training at home in Florida until I leave for the Olympics,” Fonteno said. “My coach here will be giving me advice and assisting me with my workouts.”

Demerae Christianson will be coaching Fonteno long distance whenever she begins training in Florida.

“I get to help ... her in the pool everyday to make her better,” Christianson said. “I’ll keep helping Megan in the summer by writing her workouts for her when she goes home. We’ll stay in close... contact up to the day she races.”

Christianson said she has only been coaching at Auburn for two months, but holds years of experience from her time as a student athlete at the University.

“I swam here at Auburn from 2000-2004, and then I swam professionally here for two years,” Christianson said. “It’s a lot of experience, but I want to get some more banners up.”

When it comes to Fonteno, Christianson said her energy and coaching skills are key factors that will contribute to Fonteno’s success in London this summer.

“This is an exciting time for her. It’s the highest goal you can get as an athlete,” Christianson said. “She just needs to embrace this and get excited. It’s only every four years, and not everyone gets to make the Olympic team.”

Fonteno and most of her Auburn teammates will be racing for different countries.

“We won’t be together, but it will be cool seeing all of us in non-Auburn caps on the pool deck,” Fonteno said.

Regardless of what country the Tigers are swimming for, Christianson said she thinks the Olympics will attract a big crowd from the Auburn faithful.

“With the success Auburn has had with swimming, we’re going to have a good representation of the Auburn family out there in London,” Christianson said.

Fonteno said the presence of the Auburn fans provides a sense of comfort.

“It’s nice to have the support behind you so that you know you’re not only swimming for yourself. You’re swimming for the Auburn family.”
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