Marymount University junior swimming standout Anna Macedonia has emerged during her collegiate career, and not just in the pool. This week’s INTRODUCING … featured student-athlete is open and honest. She is also the defending CAC champion in the 100 backstroke and developing into one of the top swimmers in the region.
What is your background in the sport you play? I have been swimming competitively since I was four years old. In the summers when my dad wasn’t teaching, he managed swimming pools in Arlington, Va. My twin sister (Maggie) and I learned how to swim when we were two during the summer. Maggie and I swam together on Arlington Aquatic Club year round as well as swimming for our middle and high schools Swanson and Bishop O’Connell. Swimming at Bishop O’Connell was pretty amazing because I got to swim against some of the top swimmers in the area and in the nation. I had the privilege of swimming on a team and on relays with Olympian Kate Ziegler. Our relays were recognized with All-America status.
I swam for Arlington Aquatic Club for 14 years and switched to York my last year in high school. I was fortunate enough to swim with a talented group of female swimmers at Arlington Aquatic Club and had the opportunity to travel around the United States competing from the state level to the national level. Some of my most treasured memories as a swimmer involve traveling nationwide with my twin sister, Katie Radloff and Katy Hinkle as well as my former coach Evan Stiles and placing top-8 in the nation.
When I left AAC my senior year, I was able to meet my coach I swim with presently, Mike Clark. Under his coaching, I have really developed into the swimmer that I am today. I owe a lot of the success I have experienced because of his patience, commitment, and humor that he brings to practice every day.
What is your favorite spot on campus? I probably spend the most time at the pool when I am on campus, but my favorite spot on campus is probably Gailhac. I am an Art Education major and Gailhac is the building where all of the art studios are located. I practically live in some of those studios.
Other than your teams, what organizations do you participate in? I am part of the Honors College at Marymount which is a very selective and elite program at the university. It is a very challenging and sometimes can be frustrating, but I have been able to meet some amazing people who have become very close friends.
Briefly describe the most memorable experience during your collegiate athletic career. My entire swimming career I’ve felt like I have been in other people’s shadows. I was seen as being a good swimmer with potential, but never seen as fierce competition. My twin sister was a big influence growing up because I was her biggest fan and her success was my success. I didn’t have confidence in myself and it severely affected my performance. I would psych myself out for races and was afraid of success. Since I have been at Marymount, I feel like my potential has finally been tapped. My defining moment in my career was winning the 100 backstroke last year at CAC’s. I have faced much adversity in my career and many obstacles, but standing on that podium was surreal. It wasn’t just me on that podium; it was everyone that had believed in me… my boyfriend, my twin sister, my teammates… everyone who thought I could be a successful athlete. It was not only a defining moment with winning the conference, but a breakthrough in my confidence. For the first time, I believed, full heartedly, that I belonged on that podium.
What is the most important societal issue facing college students? I think a huge issue facing college students is honesty. There is so much cheating and deception in the community that it’s really hard to tell the difference between the truth and lies. People should feel a sense of pride and integrity in who they are and what they do. People who try to get ahead by using the wrong methods may seem to be successful, but they are only doing themselves is a huge disservice.
If you could change any one item in the world (in your personal life, school, community, amateur or professional sports, national/international issue, etc.), what would it be, why, and how would you do it? Self confidence is something that I think a large number of people in today’s world face. Society holds us responsible to reach impossible expectations that lead us feeling disappointed, frustrated and depressed. Whether it’s financial, physical, or academic expectations, people can experience negative effects of these pressures. This can lead to serious distorted confidence issues that can affect every aspect of a person’s life. In my own life, I dealt with the deadly obsession of thinness. I have dealt with physical, psychological and social ramifications of it and it has taken me many years to get to where I am today. Self confidence was something that I lacked for a long time, but I have worked hard in trying to consciously improve how I feel about myself and have been lucky to have many people support me along the way. Self confidence isn’t something that you can’t decide to have… it is something that is developed and strengthened over time. In order to change negative self confidence, people need to be aware and in touch with their feelings and make a conscious choice to want to implement change. It can make a world of difference.
What is your major in college, and what is the most important thing you learned in that discipline? I am majoring in Art Education with a minor in Art History. I have definitely learned the importance of not taking something too seriously. I have found that when I overwork or try to force a project to work, it doesn’t turn out as well as when I’m relaxed. I have learned that this semester especially with taking three studio classes, which might have not been the best choice. I have discovered that listening to comedy like Dave Chappelle, Kathy Griffin, or Dane Cook really helps keep me relaxed and happy. Nothing is harder than trying to produce art when you are frustrated!
Other than your family members, who was the most influential person in your life? I know it says a person outside your family, but really the source of the most support throughout my life has been my twin sister. She has helped me through so much darkness in my life and has been there to experience my success. Maggie is someone that I relied on a lot growing up because I always looked up to her. She had (and still has) an incredible work ethic and drive in whatever she does. Maggie has a very spontaneous and free spirited personality and she has a genuine love of life. To say the least, she is my rock. We may fight, or make fun of each other, or even call each other derogatory names, but she really is my other half. It was a very difficult transition into college without her and I definitely struggled at times because of how much I missed her. She was not only my sister growing up, but a teammate, classmate, and best friend. We were always together; whether it was in the pool together, or in class, or with the same group friends, we were inseparable. It’s really hard to express the twin bond, but it really is one of the things I treasure most about my life. I know that no matter what happens or what I face, she will always be there… even in troubling times. Maggie really is what I would call a hero of mine. She’s incredible, and if I would change anything about my college experience, it would be to have her here with me.
If you could give one piece of advice to elementary school children, what would that advice be? Don’t let what other people say or do influence you! Make your own decisions, establish a voice! Sure, not everyone will agree with what you say, but you will be respected for having the confidence for standing up for what you believe in. I learned that very late in my life, and I really wish I would have found my inner voice earlier. By having a strong voice, you really are respected and looked upon as being a leader. Maybe doing something because you believe in it might not be the most popular choice looked upon by peers, but it really does distinguish you as an individual. It gives you character. It gives you a strong sense of self. It builds self confidence. It definitely benefits you in the long run!
What is your favorite form of entertainment? As I said in a previous question, comedy definitely has an important role in my life. It has a way of calming me down and nothing feels as good as a good laugh. I love all kinds of comedy, whether it’s just genuine, inexplicit humor like Bill Cosby, or pretty raw humor like Dave Chappelle. I don’t discriminate when it comes to comedy. I’ll give pretty much anything a chance, but I do have my favorite comedians that I listen to regularly. Like it’s been said, laughter is the best medicine.
Outside of the Capital Athletic Conference, who or what is your favorite sports person or team? I absolutely love college sports! It is a shame that Marymount is somewhat limited on the sports that we have and we aren’t as strong as some of the powerhouses around the nation. But, I love the Duke men’s basketball team. I got really into them when I was growing up because of my three older brothers. Two of them were huge Cameron crazies and I definitely became one of them. I was so pumped when they won the National Championship and I’ve been known to talk a lot of smack to anyone that challenges my Duke philosophy. I love watching March Madness; it’s one of my most favorite times of the year!!
Name three (3) people, real or fictional, living or dead that you'd like to have dinner with? I’m a HUGE Leonardo DiCaprio fan. HUGE. I think he’s extremely talented and extraordinarily good looking. I was never the girl to have pictures of him in my locker, but my love for him is pretty public. I am actually more of a fan post- Titanic. My favorite movies he’s been in are definitely The Departed, Shutter Island, Blood Diamond, and his most recent film Inception. I honestly don’t know what I would say or do to him if I were to come into contact with him… I’d probably just…die.
Audrey Hepburn is another person that I absolutely love. She is such an icon, even though she died a few years ago. Her influences in fashion and film have lived on throughout the years. She had incredible style and grace about her that touched so many people. Audrey really does define the little black dress.
And finally… Dave Chappelle. He has to be one of the funniest people I have ever heard.