A 14-Year-Old Athlete Schools Us On Setting Higher Goals

Debora Barros might be young, but the swimmer knows that becoming a better competitor starts from within.

Debora Barros swimming goalsphoto credit: Champions Fund

It’s not about the first goal – it’s about the one after that

For competitive swimmer Debora Barros, goals setting is just something that comes next. Next after your first goal. Then your second goal. There is no end game. And knowing that is her #BHmoment.

“It makes me want to set the bar higher for myself to achieve new goals,” she says.

The 14-year-old swimmer from Toronto was recently awarded one of 30 grants from the Champions Fund, a Dairy Farmers of Canada program to help female athletes achieve their goals. She competes internationally, with impressive results.
But talking frankly with her about how she sets herself up to achieve her (next) goal just goes to show you that age has nothing to do with wanting to be a better version of yourself.

Her most recent goal

“In December 2016, I made a best time in 200 Fly that I was qualified for at the time of the Festival Swim Meet, and it was impressive!  I raced in the finals of the Youth Cup,” she says, noting her 200-yard butterfly time was 2:23.40. “Currently, I am 200 fly top one, 13 to 14 years, in the Niagara LSC.”

Another – winning the grant

“It was the first time I could buy a […] a hydrophobic swim suit that does not absorb water,” says Barros. “They do not get heavier in water, but stay light so you can save energy. Purchasing all my various equipment can be expensive, so not having to worry about the financial side of things allows me just to focus on my sport.” She adds that the gran helps pay for equipment, transportation and swim meet fees.

Nine things that happen to your body when you swim.

Her next goal

“I decided to improve my technique and endurance in the fly stroke, and then in the last week of October [2017], I made another best time in my first USA Swimming meet of season 2017-2018,” she says. “I’m excited about the opportunity to incorporate into my practice the elite technology fins, which help swimmers improve their technique. They help build a fast, strong kick while providing flexibility in the ankles and feet.

Goals are about surprising yourself

“I learned that I can do a lot more than I think,” says Barros. “It’s very clear in my mind that my technique needs improvement: There’s always room to be better.

This professional athlete refused to give up swimming, even after she retired.

Finding motivation

“If you come to my house, you will see in the living room a Zig Ziglar quote on the wall, ‘Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.’ There are no shortcuts or easy paths to success, keep in your mind that opportunities come when you work your hardest.”

As for your goals, she has this advice

“You can do a lot more than you think, if you try,” says Barros. “Do not be afraid of taking chances and making mistakes.”

Did you know that swimming is one of the best anti-aging workouts? Especially for this age group.