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The Journey of Becoming: Campbell’s Story

From The Beat, Dallas ISD

“Wait, so all of this is actually paying off?”

Woodrow Wilson High School senior swimmer Campbell C. recounts her happy disbelief when she received her first college recruiting call.

“This is only the beginning,” Coach Stephanie Bernier told her.

Although it seems to be just getting started, Campbell’s story began before she was born, as she comes from a lineage of University of Texas (UT) longhorns.

Her dad was a student there, her mom was a swimmer, and her grandfather was a cross-country runner.

At the age of eight, Campbell began competitive swimming and excelled as soon as she dipped her toes into the water. Her most notable race became the 200-meter individual medley (IM), and she won the Texas Age Group Swimming Short Course Championships eight times since then.

Campbell decided to transfer to Woodrow in her freshman year to attend her neighborhood school with close friends, and there she became not only a better swimmer but a better student as well.

“I couldn’t ask for a better high school experience,” she said. “Transferring to Woodrow was a no-brainer for me. I absolutely love it from both the academic and athletic standpoint, and I’ve had success on both sides.”

While at Woodrow, Campbell has earned the UIL State Swimming 200 IM title the last three years, become a two-time U.S. National Junior Swim Team member and a top four swimmer in the nation, and qualified for the 2024 Olympic Team trials.

She’s ranked first in the state for swimming, and third academically in her senior class at Woodrow. While all of this was accomplished by the end of her junior year, Campbell still hadn’t come to the realization that she was a rare breed.

It wasn’t until she began receiving recruiting calls from the top swimming and diving schools in the nation – Stanford, Virginia Tech, and UT – that it clicked.

“It is all paying off, I didn’t miss one day, and now I see why,” Campbell says.

The years of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to carpool with friends to practice, missing out events, the periods of frustration, wanting to give up, confusion, and hours of studying led her to this moment.

Campbell was certain she was going to leave Texas for college and pave a path separate from her parents and grandfather. Instead, after visiting UT’s campus, she canceled her last two recruiting visits and secured her spot on the nationally ranked swimming and diving team at UT.

“I feel like she just started accepting how great she is. She hadn’t quite absorbed how wonderful she was in all aspects. The things she receives, she earns and deserves them all,” said Bernier.

With her newfound realization, Campbell knew she had to fully step into the person she was becoming, and she took on the role of team captain at Woodrow. But that didn’t come without much internal dialogue.

“I knew I wanted to take on this responsibility instead of fading into the background like I used to do because I didn’t want people to think I was bragging or not being humble,” she said. “There were things I wanted to see happen from my team, and I knew I could help.”

After four years, she has become the captain, created unforgettable memories, etched her name in record books, and is leaving a legacy for her younger brother on the team.