At home in Wyoming

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Oamaru’s favourite water baby is loving life in the United States.
St Kevin’s College old girl Isobel Ryan made a fleeting visit home over Christmas but is now back in the swing of things at her US university.
Ryan is on a swimming scholarship at the University of Wyoming and said the mix of coaching and competition had led to immediate gains in the pool.
“My times have improved dramatically since coming over here and swimming at altitude has helped a lot with just overall fitness, which is part of the reason I chose to swim here,” she told the Oamaru Mail in an email.
“I think being a part of a big team with 50 senior swimmers from the ages of 18-23 gives you a lot of motivation to try and be better than you can be.
“Improving my technique and stroke rate has helped me shave off seconds in my preferred races of 200m, 100m and 50m freestyle, which has had a big impact on my performance.”College life was busy but hugely rewarding, Ryan said.
“The college lifestyle is quite different than that of New Zealand, but my academics and study have been great.
“Swimming is a great thing to get you out of bed at 5am in the morning to kickstart your day. Ten years of early mornings and I still struggle with getting up, to be honest.
“But overall, the swimming, study and lifestyle in general is going fabulously.”The spirit and camaraderie in the Wyoming team was hugely positive, Ryan said.
Naturally, the skill level is a step up from the action at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre, but there is no danger of the teenager forgetting her roots.
“I loved it when I went home and swam with my club team _ it was really humbling to see where and what I have come from, and the help and support that Oamaru as a town has given me to get me where I am today.
“Coming home was like a breath of fresh air, literally. It was great to see my sisters and mum and dad for the 12 days I was back and just be home again.”Ryan will return at the end of March for Olympic trials in Auckland, and is keen to see where she ranks in the national squad.

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