There is a highlight reel in everyone. It features events that bring special meaning to a person, or many times, is about achieving a goal that at one point seemed unachievable.
For Skyline swimmer Emma Rose Carpenter, her “highlight reel” is a little bit of both with a splash of friendship.
“During my freshman year my goal was to get a varsity letter, and to do that you have to qualify for the second day of the SEC tournament,” Carpenter says. “I knew to do that I had to get below 6 minutes on my 500 freestyle. When I touched the wall on the first day and saw that I had beat 6 minutes by several seconds I was so happy.”
While she will never forget that special moment, which happened because of her hard work and dedication, she has had similar highlight reel moments since.
“That feeling has been recreated several times since then and in several events, but each time the feeling is amazing,” she said.
Then there are the big picture things that can’t be measured by a stop watch or a scoreboard.
“I also have made most of my best friends from the swim and dive team and spending time with them every day is so fun,” she says.
Emma Rose, the daughter of Creg and Sheila Carpenter, is taking her final laps this year with the Skyline swimming and diving team, which won a state title last year under coach Maureen (Mojo) Isaac. The senior believes the Eagles fly at a high altitude in part because of great talent and in part because Isaac knows how to get the most out of that talent. It’s proven to be a winning combination.
“Skyline has been blessed with some incredibly talented swimmers, but I think a lot of its success has to be credited back to Mojo,” Carpenter says. “She finds potential in swimmers of all levels and we all grow immeasurably under her coaching. Her insight into the sport is something we’re all lucky to have.”
The admiration between swimmer and coach is certainly a two-way street.
“Emma Rose is the harbor in the storm,” Isaac says. “She is the calm one in any situation. Her teammates know that they can trust her because she is really good at decision making.”
She also was a good choice as one of the team’s captains this year.
“She is really hitting her stride as a captain,” Isaac says. “She is willing to have the difficult conversations with coaches and she is a solid voice for her teammates.”
Carpenter’s first attempt at swimming didn’t exactly go swimmingly well.
“I swam when I was younger, but stopped because my 11-year-old self didn’t like it,” she says. “In seventh grade, I started swimming again, with Mojo this time, and found a new appreciation for it.”
There was just something different this time when she jumped in the water.
“The level of dedication required for the Skyline swim team was something I had never experienced before,” says Carpenter, whose two big events are the 200 and 500 freestyle. “So that was when I became completely immersed and in love with it.”
Carpenter likes that in swimming you can challenge yourself in a very measured way – the stopwatch doesn’t lie.
“Swimming is about competing with yourself as much as it is about competing with other people,” she said. “I love how much personal growth matters in this sport.”
The 17-year-old also excels in the classroom, another place where you can compete against yourself, and also has a musical side. She plays the flute in the Skyline Symphony Band and plays the piccolo in the Skyline Marching Band. She recently completed her final band camp with the Eagles.
“Band camp every year is an amazing experience,” she says. “I have so many friends from band that I wouldn’t otherwise have and am really grateful for that.”
Swimming and playing in the band at the same time has its challenges but Carpenter wouldn’t have it any other way.
“On Wednesday nights I get out of the pool and go straight to marching band rehearsal, and while those nights can be brutal and exhausting, I live for them,” she said. “I am so fortunate that I can do both things I am passionate about. I love running to the football field amid the sound of the drumline. For me, it’s hard not to hear the drumline or whole marching band and break into a grin.”
Carpenter, who also plays water polo and is co-president for the Skyline Writing Center, is in the early laps of planning her future after high school.
“I have started looking into schools, but I am unsure where I want to go as of now,” she says. “I know I want to remain either in the Midwest or somewhere on the east coast.”
But first the talented senior will look to add a few more moments to that already impressive Skyline highlight reel.