By Terrionna Brockman
Long Beach swim athlete, Sasha Cruz is ready to take a dive at USA Games in Orlando, Florida! She will be making history in her family as the first and only athlete to be recognized in sports. “I’m the youngest in my family and it’s a really big accomplishment,” Sasha shares. Her family in Long Beach and Mexico are fully invested in her athletic success.
When Sasha found out that she would be competing at USA Games, she says that she was emotional. “When I was around eight or seven, I was like mom I’m going to be the next Michael Phelps,” she shares. As a little girl, she wanted to win medals and compete in the Olympics. She now has the chance to live out her dream!
To prepare for the Games, Sasha trains daily focusing on various techniques to help increase her speed, strengthen her muscles, and control her breathing. She also shared that she has always wanted to complete the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.
When asked what she loves about Special Olympics, she says, “It changed my entire life. I call it my second family.” Through sports, she has learned an important lesson in sportsmanship. “It [Special Olympics] taught me it doesn’t matter if you win or lose,” she says. “I would always get mad for losing and I’m like, I shouldn’t be getting mad.” She was able to see the beauty in competing and the positivity that comes with having teammates and supporters who will root for you, win or lose.