Marlins of Mercy: Julia Coffman


Photo Credit: Livvy Hintz

“I started swimming at my country club when I was 5. It really helped me come out of my shell and meet new people. The intensity hit when I switched to my Ann Arbor club team. The girls were faster, the practices were harder—everything bumped up. In the beginning, I was all by myself. The girls were intimidating and [had] already found their best friends on the team. But after a few practices, I realized how much we had in common and how I didn’t have to be nervous. We were all pretty much the same: girls who love to swim.

Because of that [experience], I entered my first high school season ready to have fun and meet new people. I met girls from all different grades that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. They’re hilarious and practically my sisters. I spend so much time with them, I think I see them more than I do my own family. It’s a cool thing to put your whole heart and soul into such a challenging sport with your best friends. Swimming taught me that not everything is easy, but it’s worth it. Imagine running and not being able to breathe—that’s kind of what it feels like. And you can’t stop. There’s no such thing as water breaks. It’s all about going as fast and as hard as you can. It’s like life, you can never pause life. You always have to keep going no matter what. But when you finally make it, the feeling of success is exhilarating.”