Julia Mann is a 19-year-old Winnipeg girl who now finds herself in Philadelphia, Pa. She is there attending La Salle University, an NCAA Division 1 school, on a swimming scholarship.
Julia had quite an adventure to get to La Salle; it is a story of great perseverance and dedication.
A former member of the Manitoba Marlins, Julia has always been a gifted swimmer. Her specialty is the butterfly She was always able to compete at a high level but from Grade 8 through Grade 11, the former Balmoral Hall student suffered epileptic seizures that couldn’t be controlled with medication.
"Doctors told me I had to quit swimming. I was out of swimming for a year."
From 2010 to 2011 Julia wasn’t allowed to swim. During this time she was hospitalized and doctors were able to get the seizures under control.
"The last seizure I had was in March of 2011," she says.
Slowly, with cautious, steady training, and with the guidance of Manitoba Marlins head coach Dave Guthrie, Julia was able to make a comeback.
"I was really nervous. Exercising, more so hyperventilating, was a trigger for my seizures. When I started back I was out of shape but with great help around me I was able to pick it back up fairly quickly," she says.
Julia just finished her first swim season at La Salle, where they competed in the Atlantic 10 conference championships. And she was awesome. She hit personal best times in the 200-metre individual medley and in the 100- and 200-metre butterfly.
Julia made the conference final in the 200 butterfly and missed the La Salle school record by
just six tenths of a second — as a freshman!
I asked Julia if she had athletic goals beyond La Salle.
"I really enjoy swimming,but really want to focus on my education and career," she says.
You’d have to say she is off to a great start — majoring in psychology and holding a GPA of 3.7.
"Know that no matter what anyone says to you that you can come back from anything, so long as you put your mind to it and you are willing to put in the work to get there," Julia says of her journey.
Awesome stuff Julia, keep kicking butt!
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood is co-host of The Big Show, every weekday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. on TSN 1290 radio. He writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.