Swimmer finds success while overcoming injury

By Diana Campeggio
February 10, 2011

How long have you been swimming?

-“I’ve been swimming since I was 5 years old.”

How did you get involved in swimming?

-“When we moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, my neighbors had two young boys that were my age and were on the swim team and my mom said ‘we’ll join the swim team’ and I fell in love with it from there.”

What challenges have you needed to face due to swimming?

– “I got tendonitis in my shoulder and a few years ago I tore my labrum, so it restricts my range of motion.”

A member of the women’s swim team has battled more than just opposing swimmers in her four year-run at Cabrini.  Lisa Somers, senior social work major, has been swimming distance on the team for the past four years, even though she struggles with tendinitis in her left shoulder.

“I just kind of push through it and then deal with the pain later,” Somers said.

At the age of 5, Somers began swimming for a local swim team in her hometown of Delran, N.J. When she turned 12, she was diagnosed with tendinitis, scar tissue building up in her shoulder and becoming inflamed.

Though a butterflier when she was younger, the tendinitis caused her shoulder to give out and once attending Cabrini, she began swimming distance.

In recent years, Somers tore her labrum and since returning from the team’s recent training trip to Miami, Fla., a different part of her shoulder has been giving her problems.

But even with a shoulder injury that restricts her range of motion, Somers continues to swim and push through the pain because of her love for the activity.

“She has learned to cope with her shoulder injury and it has definitely made her a stronger person but she never lets it get the best of her,” Rachel Schmid, freshman teammate of Somers, said. “She just keeps pushing.”

Though Somers attends physical therapy to strengthen her shoulder here at Cabrini, recently the pain has continued to worsen.  But she is determined to finish out the season.

“It hasn’t really held her back. She still swims at practice and she swims really well in the meets, but you can see how much pain her shoulder causes her,” Kimberly Crowther, freshman teammate of Somers, said.

Somers believes that her support group of family and teammates has driven her to stick with the activity, even when she was dealing with the pain. Somers’ parents have played a strong supportive role in her swimming career.

“They definitely pushed me to keep going and they knew that I loved it,” Somers said.  “They didn’t want me to give it up because of an injury.”

Somers’ parents made sure she attended the right doctors and learned to take care of her shoulder so she could continue to swim because of how much she was in love with it, according to Somers.

“They are always supportive and always come out to see me swim.   They’ve been doing it since I was five so I think they learned to enjoy it,” Somers said.

Somers also gives credit to her teammates for supporting her and motivating her when she wanted to quit.

“Even with a shoulder injury, they support me.  They help me get through even though I’m in pain,” Somers said. “We’re just like a big family and I love that atmosphere.”

But her teammates say it is her determination and captivating personality that really makes her a great swimmer and member of the team.

Somers’ teammates describe her as an outgoing, supportive teammate and claim that her shoulder injury has only made her a stronger person.

According to Crowther, she has not let her injury hold her back at practice or at meets and she continues to let her personality shine through the pain.

“Lisa is hilarious. There is not one swim practice where she hasn’t made anyone laugh,” Crowther said. “If you’re having a rough day, you can count on Lisa to cheer things up.”

Somers’ goals are to finish the season strong and be able to swim in the last meet of the season because she does not plan to swim after college due to her shoulder, so finishing the season is important to her.  Somers is proud to finish the four-year career with Cabrini’s swim team.

“Cabrini swimming has definitely been the best four years of swimming out of my swimming career,” Somers said.

If your teammates were to describe you in one sentence, what would they say?

-“An atomic bomb of rambunctious joy”

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Diana Campeggio

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