Frondoza continues to improve in the pool for Titans

Published 11:43 am Monday, February 7, 2022

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By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier

Audrey Frondoza fully admits she is too hard on herself. However, she always finds a way to get back up on the starting block and try her best the next time.

Frondoza, a junior on the girls swim team at West Forsyth, is prone to putting too much pressure on herself. A perfect example of that happened to her on Saturday at the NCHSAA Class 4-A Central Regional at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. In the first event of the meet, Frondoza was swimming in the 200-yard medley relay. She swims the butterfly leg of the relay, which is the third leg of the race.

Everything seemed to go well, except that it didn’t. Shortly after the race, Frondoza found out that she left the starting block too early, and the team was disqualified. And to make it worse, it was the first time it happened to her all season.

“I had a feeling I left (too early) because when I saw that our other swimmer was coming into the wall I kind of pushed off just a little bit,” she said. “It wasn’t like obvious, but it was subtle.”

It was bound to happen that Frondoza would find out that the relay team had been disqualified. However, Coach Sandy Thomerson of West Forsyth and assistant coach George Vlahos were trying to keep the result away from her as along as possible because Frondoza still had more events to swim.

“We knew it got DQ’d and we kind of kept it from her for the first little bit of the meet, knowing it that it might affect her,” Thomerson said. “Then they handed me the DQ slip and she was standing right there.

“So, I kind of had to tell her. And, yes, it got in her head at least for the next race or two.”

Frondoza admitted that the DQ impacted her for the rest of the meet.

Submitted photo
Junior Audrey Frondoza was an all-conference performer for the West Forsyth swim team this season

“It really got me in a bad mindset because it hurt me to know that we could’ve had a chance to make it to states in that relay, and I kind of lost it for us,” she said. “But the girls — they were so supportive. They made sure I knew that it wasn’t my fault, that it was going to be OK. I have high expectations for myself when it comes to big meets. I guess that’s one of my qualities that I really need to work on as a swimmer because I shouldn’t be expecting so much from myself, and I know that I’ve been working with what I’ve got. I’ve been working all that I can to get to the point where I am now.”

Frondoza finished 14th in the 100 butterfly at 59.59, 18th in the 100 back at 1:01.15, and she swam the anchor leg in the 400 free relay and the team finished 10th at 3:43.45.

“I did drop (time) in my events, but like I said, I set high expectations of myself, and when I didn’t meet them, it really bummed me out,” she said.

Frondoza, who is 16, fully admits that she’s hard on herself in all aspects of her life.

“I think it’s because I want to achieve a higher level,” said Frondoza, who also swims for TYDE, her club team. “I want to exceed my expectations in everything I do. And I have to tell myself, ‘It’s not going to happen all the time.’

“There are going to be ups and downs and sometimes I just have to go with what I was given.”

The result in this past Saturday’s 200 medley relay was in stark contrast to what Frondoza had done the previous weekend at the Central Piedmont 4-A meet. She swam with teammates Katherine Perdue, Kelly Smith and Katie Kennedy to finish third at 1:51.42, setting the school record.

“She had a great conference meet,” Thomerson said. “She made All-Conference, and she should be proud of that.”

The next step is just going race-to-race and meet-to-meet.

“She’s way too hard on herself,” Thomerson said. “I told her (this past Saturday), because she didn’t swim her fastest, but I said, ‘You are not going to go your fastest every single race. It’s impossible. It’s how you deal with those losses of sorts that makes you a stronger swimmer in the end. Even Michael Phelps didn’t go his fastest each time.'”

Even Frondoza admits she needs to have a short-term memory.

“George (Vlahos) always told me to take what you are given,” she said. “Only do what you are given. And that’s pretty much my motto now. I have to, whatever I do, it’s what I do. I shouldn’t be disappointed in myself for something so minor. And he would say, ‘Quick memory. Remember it and just forget about it. Don’t let it affect anything else in your life because it’s only little mistakes.”

Thomerson has seen the progression from Frondoza since her freshman season.

“She’s a little firecracker. She’s gotten stronger. Her swimming itself — she has flawless technique,” Thomerson said. “Her actual strokes are just great.”

Fondoza’s brother, Ethan, is a freshman on the boys team, who is also an accomplished swimmer. He swam the backstroke leg of the winning 200 medley relay team and the third leg of the winning 200 free relay team at the regional on Saturday and will swim at the 4-A state championship on Saturday in Cary.

“Seeing him beat a lot of the fastest swimmers at most of our meets makes me feel really proud,” Audrey said. “That makes me feel extremely proud of all of his accomplishments, especially at such a young age. I’m up all the time making sure that I’m cheering for him and watching him swim.”

Despite their closeness they do have a sibling rivalry.

“Of course, we’re siblings, so we don’t always get along about some things,” Audrey said. “And we’re a little competitive with each other. Overall, we always tell each other that we’re happy about each other’s accomplishments. (Ethan’s) going to get taller, he’s going to get stronger. That’s going to have a big effect on his swimming.”

There’s something she’d like to emulate with Ethan.

“He’s really active,” said Audrey, who has a weighted 4.1 grade-point average. “I want to see how active I can be. He’s just a very active person, in general. And I admire that about him.

I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert, but I do want to be like him. I admire him a lot.”

Despite her season coming to an end, Audrey Frondoza is already looking forward to swimming during her senior year.

“I want to make them proud and I want to make sure that as one of the upperclassmen on my team, I swim the best that I can to hopefully bring our relays to states,” she said.

She had to step up this season after four girls graduated last year. She’ll have to take an even bigger step as a senior next year, with three seniors graduating.

Frondoza is already thinking about colleges and the possibility of being recruited to swim. She’d like to go to college at either UNC Wilmington or East Carolina.

“I guess it’s because I really look up to those swimmers there,” Frondoza said. “Like Reece Alexander (who swam at Reagan), she goes to Wilmington (freshman) now. I’d always looked up to her with swimming in general. She is a such a hard worker and is dedicated in everything she does.”

While in college, Frondoza wants to become a nurse.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “…Doctors and nurses — they put their health on the line, especially times like COVID to ensure that other people’s health is in tip-top shape. And that’s something I really admire in them.”

Her coach has no doubt she’ll be great in whatever endeavor Frondoza chooses.

“She’s been great. She is such a competitive person and takes every race to heart,” Thomerson said. “And she’s a good kid.”