Injuries cannot hold back Rosary’s Erin Hart

SHARE Injuries cannot hold back Rosary’s Erin Hart

Erin Hart has a high tolerance for pain.

The Rosary swimmer proved that last fall when she won two individual medals at the state meet just nine months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The operation in February 2013 repaired a torn labrum in her right shoulder and required months of painful rehabilitation. Given how much strain is put on shoulders during swimming, it was the type of injury that can be career-threatening.

That’s why everyone was amazed when Hart finished sixth in the 50-yard freestyle and 12th in the 100 free at state.

“I expected her to help us and she did but I did not expect her to make top six,” Rosary coach Bill Schalz said. “Even girls on her club team were shocked that she [made finals].”

So, too, was Hart, who was far from 100 percent and still in pain after being limited in training going into the season.

“I was really surprised with how I did at state and really happy with my finish,” Hart said. “My goal was to make it back [to finals] but I didn’t expect to.”

Hart never considered sitting out the season even though she knew her endurance was less than optimal and her shoulder still hurt.

“I just went through physical therapy and did what the doctors told me,” Hart said. “I trained my best to get back to where I was.

“At first it was frustrating because I couldn’t do everything in practice with the other girls, but I realized that [taking it slow] was the right thing to do and how I would get to my full potential.”

Though she still isn’t pain-free, Hart said it will be full speed ahead for her senior season.

“It’s pretty much 100 percent,” Hart said. “I still get a little bit of pain now and then but I’m feeling really good in the water and my times are dropping.

“I actually do feel like I’m stronger because I’ve been able to train and go best times.”

Schalz thinks Hart’s quick comeback was helped by the fact that she’s a sprinter, not a distance swimmer.

“The 50 didn’t require the endurance,” Schalz said. “We’re probably not going to see her doing the 500. She still has some shoulder pain so we have to watch her.

“But she had a great junior nationals meet, so that makes us feel like she’ll have more endurance in the 100. I think she’ll be stronger.”

So, too, will the team. Thanks to leadership from swimmers like Hart, the Beads finished ninth in the state last year despite having no seniors. This year Schalz feels they will be a strong contender for a trophy.

“I think it’s going to be a really good year,” said Hart, who has official college visits planned to Iowa, Kentucky and Miami of Ohio. “I’m so excited to see what the team can do at state.”

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