Photo Courtesy of Kristy Tougas
July 2, 2013
Five a.m. wake-up calls are a daily routine for 17-year-old Kristina Tougas, who is a year-round competitive swimmer. Balancing a 20-hours-a-week practice schedule with a high school course load can be a challenge for anyone, but Tougas made it look easy as she splashed her way to valedictorian of Wethersfield High School.
"Swimming keeps me busy, and it's definitely taught me to manage my time," said the two-time state champion in the 100-yard butterfly.
It's also shaped her future, as she'll be joining the Division I team at Columbia University in the fall. She'll also be studying architecture, a combination of her two favorite subjects in school, art and math. Her five AP credits will also free up some space in her schedule to explore new things, like studying modern Greek language.
"I like all the things that are going on in New York City, it's so different from here, where everyone knows everybody," she said of her decision to attend Columbia, where she was recruited by the swim coach.
When she's not studying or swimming, Tougas volunteers with the Interact community service club and her church youth group. She also loves to run and ski, and spends her summers lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons.