"Dedicated" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Webster's Dictionary defines dedicated as "devoted to a cause, ideal, or purpose." Perhaps under dedicated it should say "see Jessica Zeuli."

Jess is a member of the fresh-man class at Marblehead High School. But, she is different from your average student. Jessica swims for Bernal's Gators, a swim team based at the Harvard pool in Cambridge. Before joining the Gators Jessica had swam for the Beverly Y. She had been a well-known nemesis at Y Districts, New England's and even National's, but both she and her old coach knew she could do even better. So, she made the difficult decision to move to the top level Cambridge team, a decision that has forced major changes in her day-to-day life.

On an average Wednesday Jessica is up at 4: 30 a.m. and ready to begin the day. By 4: 45 she is out the front door and heading for the Harvard pool where she hits the water around 5: 30. Practice is over at 6: 45, the time most M.H.S. students are just beginning their day, and Jessica heads for her day at school. But her workout is far from over. As soon as the bell rings at 2: 15 she is already thinking of the pool. Jess is driven to Danvers where she meets her carpool and once again heads for Harvard. Practice begins at 5: 30 p.m. and lasts until 8: 30. After her hours of work she must wait until she arrives home at 9 p.m. to begin her homework. When everything is completed Jess tries to get a good night's sleep before starting all over again the next morning.

The hard work does not go to waste, however. Jessica has become very good at her favorite events, the 200 meter and the 100 yard backstroke. This year she is just three seconds from making it to the Junior Olympics. Her long-term goal is to qualify for the 1992 Olympic trials, and if success is catching at the Gators, she shouldn't have any problem. The silver medalist at the Seoul Games and the current world record holder in the 100 meter backstroke, David Berkoff, is not only an assistant coach, but is also a Gator alumni. Along with David Berkoff there are Alex Kostich and another Marbleheader Ray Carey, both of whom are some of this country's best hopes in the '92 Olympics.

Jessica is happy with the decision to join Joe Bernal and his Gators and says of Bernal, "You know you can trust him because he knows what he is talking about." If you ever meet Jessica, don't expect a conceited jock. She knows that there is a long way to go between now and Barcelona in 1992, but she won't give up until she knows that she has done her best. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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