Lake Washington High senior Katie Cross eyes the Juanita Aquatics Center pool and knows what she wants to achieve in there — or at any other pool that the Kangs will compete in this season.
Above her head, the LW school-record board is bolted against the wall and displays her name in two spots: the 100 backstroke, 57.07; and the 400 freestyle relay, 3:32.71 (with teammates Amelia Hammer, Jade Foltenyi and Courtney Cross).
On the 100 back record that she set last season, she exclaims with a laugh, “I totally wanna break that record, I wanna smash that record.” This season, she’s hit a 3A state-qualifying 1:01, but that mark might not stand for long. Overall in her career, her fastest 100 back time is 55.06, which she notched while competing for her Bellevue Club Swim Team.
“I’m super excited for this year. I think we’re gonna do really well at state. I wanna make the most of my senior year,” Cross said. “I’m trying to bring lots of positive energy, have fast practices. And then at meets, just cheer really loud; we’ve got some good team cheers this year. The girls, too, are so great this year, we have such a good team.”
While Cross has cemented her mindset in the here and now, she can’t help but get excited about what awaits her next year in the pool. She earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas and verbally committed to the team in May.
“The coaches are amazing, they seem very family oriented, which I love. The team culture was amazing. It reminds me a lot of high school swimming: everyone’s friends, everyone gets along, you cheer for each other,” said Cross, noting that the program has benefits for athletes, such as class tutors, help with housing and more.
She was smitten with the campus as well.
“The campus is beautiful. People think that University of Kansas is on a farm — it is not. It’s beautiful, there’s so many trees everywhere. It’s on a hill, so it’s wonderful,” she said with a smile.
During her LW career, she has placed in the top five at state in the 100 back, 100 freestyle, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Last season, LW placed third in the 3A state team standings at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
With her club team, she has been a Winter Juniors and Futures qualifier along with shining at the Washington State Senior Short Course Championships and Federal Way Sectionals.
The Reporter asked Cross a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What do you try to achieve each day so you can go home and sleep tight after a good day?
One of my main priorities is just being positive with the team. Also at each practice, even if the practice is really hard, I wanna make sure that I’m getting the most out of it. Also during the school day, I wanna make sure that I’m talking to a lot of people, I’m making connections with people. That goes the same for swim practice, I wanna get along with everyone, be a good captain.
What super power would you like to have?
I would like the ability to control time so I could get my homework done, ‘cause I’m a huge procrastinator.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
Right now, I’m super into country music, and I used to hate country music. I’m up for new things at all times, so I’ve been trying to get more into it.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
This is gonna be a crazy opinion, but I love “Shrek.” I think it was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. I just love that movie, I can watch it over and over and over again. I love Donkey, he’s my favorite movie character of all time.
What inspires you each day? Maybe a person?
I would say either two things. It’s either my mom. She’s very, very positive and she works really hard. She’s a nurse and she has crazy shifts, and that really inspires me because she comes home, and she still has energy to have fun with my sister and I, and she loves to be crazy. Sometimes she sings really loud to songs and it’s really fun.
The other thing that inspires me is just my teammates. They’re really awesome and they’re all super positive. At the end of each practice, we celebrate each other and it’s really motivating.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would be graduated from college and hopefully I’ll have a job. I really want a job as a social media manager for a company, marketing whatever products they have or services that they have. And hopefully the friends that I make here on this team and the friends that I make on my Kansas team are my lifelong best friends, and we talk every day and we have really good times.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people touch my feet while we’re swimming. I’m super ticklish, so when people touch my feet, I freak out.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Beyonce or (former president) Obama because I think they’re both super cool. Beyonce is a queen and Obama is just awesome. I would love to pick his brain. I feel like I would gain so much knowledge just from one dinner with him.