After thousands of hours in the pool training, many of which come before most have their morning cup of coffee, Arianna Ottavianelli needed a respite.
Swimming competitively since she was six, the Bettendorf junior's zeal for the sport had waned. She was burned out.
"I was kind of getting tired and it wasn't as much of a love as it was before," Ottavianelli said. "It was a struggle to go to practice. I really didn't want to go."
So instead of training last spring, Ottavianelli went out for track and field. She ran some 100s, 200s and 400s for the Bulldogs.
"You need to take a step away every now and then," Bettendorf swim coach Mike Ahrens said. "I could tell and the family could tell, swimming wasn't that much fun for her anymore. It was the first time she's realized that in her life."
Track provided perspective. It made her heart grow fonder for swimming.
"After taking some time off and trying something else, I realized swimming is my sport," she said. "I do love swimming."
Led by Ottavianelli, a state runner-up in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke last season, the Bulldogs are eager to make a big splash this fall.