Olympic Drive

Olympic Drive

Ask her SPH classmates, and they’ll tell you Mari Embertson is the one who’s always eating. That’s because the first-year health management and policy student needs over 3,000 calories a day to get through her swim regimen: two-hour workouts twice daily, four days a week, plus a single workout over the weekend. It’s all part of Embertson’s dream—to go to Beijing in 2008 as a member of the U.S. Olympic team.

For help, she couldn’t do better than the five swimmers she trains with morning and night at the University of Michigan— among them eight-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps and four-time Olympian Kaitlin Sandeno—or their coaches, former Olympians Bob Bowman and Jon Urbanchek.

An endurance swimmer (“I just didn’t get enough fast-twitch muscle fibers to be a sprinter,” she laughs), Embertson specializes in the 400-meter individual medley. She placed seventh in the event at the 2007 U.S. Nationals in March, but to get to the Olympics she’ll need to be number one or two in the country.

She’s got a more important goal, though: “I want to become the best swimmer I can be.” And she’d also like to run a hospital some day. “I feel like I could have a good impact on people’s lives,” Embertson says.

She just needs enough food to fuel all that ambition.

Photo by Peter Smith.

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