Swimmer Spotlight: Julie Kamat

Name: Julie Kamat
Age: 31
Occupation: Sr. HR Technology Analyst
Local Team: OREG (no local team affiliation)

Julie Kamat

Julie Kamat

In the fall of 2018, my husband and I moved from Orlando to Portland, Oregon, for a new job opportunity.  Since moving here, I have mainly trained solo (with help from the MySwimPro app) at various pools around the Beaverton area.

I grew up in New York’s capital region, where I started swimming at age four and began competing when I was twelve.  At the 2005 NY Empire State Games, my coach put me in as anchor for the Women’s 400M Free Relay.  It was a lot of pressure because I was swimming with the state’s fastest sprinters and I was a mid-distance swimmer at the time.  There was a lot of pressure on the relay to medal–I was so pumped and I swam so vigorously that my legs totally died 10 meters from the wall.  Luckily we ended up capturing bronze!  It was a lifetime best race for me in the 100M Free.  I was so tired that I ended up collapsing after getting out of the pool!

At sixteen I started fighting shoulder problems for three years leading into college.  I decided not to pursue D1 and instead attended State University of New York at Geneseo in D3 swimming.  Within the first two months of college, my shoulder completely blew out, and I had surgery shortly thereafter to relieve the pain.  I stopped swimming to focus on my academics and my career.  During that time I stayed active by running some 5ks, lifting weights and pursuing synchronized swimming again.  While training with NYC Gotham Masters Synchro, I had the opportunity to perform in a music video for Mac Miller’s Clubhouse in 2015, which was an all-around amazing experience.

After watching Anthony Ervin win the 50 Free in the 2016 Rio Olympics, I felt inspired to get back into the pool and aim to qualify for the 2020 Olympic trials in the 50M Free.  When I moved from NYC to Orlando in 2017, I switched from synchro to competitive swimming (again) and joined a local Masters team there.

I have undergone two shoulder surgeries, with the most recent in January 2018.  The surgeon advised that the shoulder has about two good years left.  A year in, I am still dropping time and keeping healthy!  I swim shorter yardage with lots of high-intensity sprints, paired with a structured upper body gym session to help maintain the strength and flexibility my shoulder and back require.  I continue to work with a physical therapist weekly to stay ahead of any possible injuries down the line.  I’ve learned over the years that if something hurts during a workout, stop immediately.  Make an adjustment to what’s being done or move onto a different kind of workout focusing on a different area.  For example, if my shoulder is hurting, I’ll have a kick ladder practice instead.

I typically swim two to five times a week, between 2,000-2,300 yards/meters.  I do train USRPT, but deviate from that a bit with a little more rest than expected–my main goal is to focus on the quality of my stroke to keep my left shoulder healthy.  I put a lot of focus into my weight lifting routine 2-3 times a week to augment my power in the water.

When I’m not in the pool, my husband and I like to travel and find new adventures and collect seashells from any beach we visit.  We are excited to explore new places along the west coast, and are always on the hunt for the best ramen, street tacos, and Greek food!

I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of many people and organizations that inspire and enliven me to be the best swimmer possible, and I’m truly thankful for that.  As a Masters swimmer, I don’t feel all the outside pressures that I used, to and that makes everything enjoyable.  Staying true to our goals is essential, but we have to love the process to realize them in the first place.

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