The journey to swimming excellence started with the City Swordfish under Coach Andrea Ross. Bradley said she was “super encouraging” during her first year and assured her that if she stuck with the sport, she could go far someday.
Bradley joined the Charlottesville YMCA Aquatic Club the following year and has been a year-round swimmer ever since.
“I did gymnastics, basketball and volleyball before I started swimming, but swimming is what I love most,” she said.
That love has evolved over the years thanks to a plethora of impactful coaches that continued to motivate and inspire her.
Mike Wenert, Bradley’s CYAC coach, emphasized mental toughness and visualization as part of her workouts to help prepare her for meets.
“I used to be timid behind the blocks, but with his help, I’ve learned that a racer’s attitude directly affects how you swim,” she said. “Swimming with a goal in mind really helps me stay focused at practice and during competitions. It keeps me determined and motivated.”
One of her favorite part of training is competing a set with teammates that push her beyond her limits.
“For instance, to shake things up over Christmas, Coach Mike had us do 100 100’s or 10,000 yards, which is as much about mental toughness as it is a physical grind,” Bradley said. “Doing things like that with my team creates a confidence and bond between everyone that is really special.”