Not unlike most kids in Orange County, Lancer senior Gianna Minasian learned how to swim when she was four years old, primarily for pool safety. When her swim teacher became a coach for a 5U swim team, Minasian joined and has been swimming competitively ever since.
Her stroke and event specialties are the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, as well as the relay races. As a former water polo player, Minasian prefers freestyle, but also enjoys the speed of the butterfly events.
As an athlete who has battled knee injuries in the past, Minasian finds that swimming is the perfect outlet for her to stay active. But more than the physical fitness aspects of the sport, it is the friendships and connections she has created over the years that have made the hours of training and competing worthwhile.
“All of my friends have always been from swim and the pool, ever since I was five,” says Minasian. “That’s been the most fun part. Swimming is also a great way to stay in shape and have fun. Just being on a team is cool.”
As a senior leader, Minasian feels she leads best by example. Working hard, being coachable and guiding younger players have been the most effective ways for the 18-year old to leave her mark on the program.
“Gianna has been a part of our OLu aquatics program since her freshman year, and as one of our captains this season, she was a great leader and mentor to the lower classmen,” says OLu aquatics head coach, Ed Carrera.
As physically demanding as swim can be, Minasian acknowledges the struggles she has faced on the mental side of the sport.
“A lot of the mental part can get pretty tough too,” says Minasian. “Just knowing I have to go to practice every day, I have to go to lifts…the mental mindset, and staying in that and just learning how to be committed is one of the most important things.”
Away from the pool, Minasian serves her campus community as an OLu Ambassador, showing prospective students and families what being a Lancer is all about. She also serves her church family at Mariners Church by working in the children’s ministry program. And when she is not in the pool, you can likely find her in the ocean, as she loves to surf.
As her time as a Lancer comes to a close, Minasian will miss the swim team camaraderie, the cheering from the pool deck and the teachers at OLu who invested in her as a student and a person.
A member of the school’s STEM Academy, Minasian is looking to study molecular biology or biochemistry in college, alongside possibly continuing to swim at the club level. She is inspired by Olympic champion swimmer Katie Ledecky, as well as her father, whose own experience as a high school swimmer proved to be invaluable these past four years.
Above all, it is Minasian’s faith that has allowed her to overcome any challenges that have come her way, whether in athletics or in life.
“Relying on God has been a really important thing for me,” says Minasian, “Remembering that he’s always going to be there for me, and if I fail, or something goes wrong, I can always rely on him. He’s always going to be there for me, no matter what I do…and that’s not going to change.”