Making the Grade - Frederica Kizek (Morton Ranch High School)

“Every morning, whether she was tired or sick or burned out or exhausted or sore, she was on the deck with a smile on her face, cap, goggles, ready to go,” says swim coach Derek Zerber.

“You know, she comes from a super good family,” AP government teacher Troy Womack says. “I've been lucky enough to teach her and her brother, and her parents have done a great job preparing her. She's always on time, always ready to do the work.”

That tells you why Morton Ranch High School senior swimmer Frederica Kizek is so well-liked by teachers, coaches, peers, and teammates. Those words also tell you why she is an All-American swimmer who puts in the work and has made the necessary sacrifices to be one of the best.

“Usually now since we’re in the off season, I get a little bit more sleep. I wake up around 6. I head here and we have an hour fifteen practice,” she says. “Then right after that, you know, I have these AP classes so I have to go through all of those, because I have six AP classes this year and the swimming included. So we have to get through all of that. Right when I get home, I have to get ready for my other practice, my other club swim practice. We do that. We come home, shower, eat, and then I have to get to the homework. So I definitely feel like I’ve set myself up with a good schedule that I know what I need to get done every day. It's kind of a routine I follow that I really like.”

Add to that an initial change in preparation with the school swim team, weight training, and her club swim team to help her break school records and propel her to the next level, wasn’t easy.

“The aerobic part of the races, the 500 for example, that's aerobic-based swim,” Zerber says. “We spent a good two months trying to teach her how to sprint for 500 straight yards. That's a daunting task. It is a daunting task."

However, Frederica accomplished, and not just in the pool. She is the valedictorian of her class with a class load that for most is daunting.

“This year, I have AP literature, AP biology, AP economics and government for the semesters, and then calculus, AP statistics and AP environmental science,” she says.

Then there are the club affiliations.

“National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Morton Ranch Varsity Swim Team and Power for Life Aquatics.”

Because of those accomplishments, she received many scholarship offers. On the day of this interview, last Tuesday, she signed with the SMU Mustangs for academics as well as she's going to be a member of the swim team with a focus on specific events.

“Definitely the 4 IM. That probably going to be my main focus there, but also distance events. So like the 500 free, the 1000 free and the mile. I think those four events will definitely be like my main focus going in.”

“What I’m going to most miss is watching Frederica enjoy the sport of swimming,” Zerber says. “She's going up to SMU in the fall, which is an incredible school with a brand new facility. I can't wait to go to Dallas and visit her. “

“You know, I’ve been teaching 28 years, and I've gotten used to saying goodbye. It's not so hard for me, but this year it was going to be super hard,” Womack says. “I love these kids, and Frederica is one of them.”