There was definitely a point last year where I was getting super overwhelmed. I’d been staying on top of everything and it was all catching up to me, and I was just going a hundred in so many areas of my life. And someone here said to me, “It’s impossible to give a 100% to every single thing, and pick out the things that are important to you and give those 90%, 95%, and then rank them. So you don’t have to put 100% of yourself into everything; it’s not sustainable.”
That’s a lesson I’ll take with me. Is there a particular woman that inspires you?
One of my biggest role models growing up was Jessica Hardy. She was a world-record holder in my event and she came into the clinic when I was younger in Alaska and helped guide me through the Olympic process when I was getting to that point. So it’s been really special to think about now how I could potentially be that for someone someday.
It’s like a ripple effect. So now we’re going to jump into some of your passions. You love fashion, photography, decorating, and cooking. What’s fulfilling about pursuing and making time to explore these things outside of the pool and the classroom?
It can get tedious and you can get in your head if you’re spending too much time focusing on swimming. I feel like just having other things going on—whether that’s playing my guitar from time to time or learning a new recipe or going and [taking photos] with my friends—gives me relief and lets me focus elsewhere for a little bit so that when I am at the pool, I can be all in rather than just kind of overthinking all the time. I’m not going to be swimming forever, so it’s important to have other things going on so you don’t have that complete culture shock when that’s over.
You’re really into fashion. How did that fashion begin and how do you see yourself integrating fashion into your daily life?
It started when I was little. I was into dolls, but mainly just dressing them. I would go thrifting a lot when I was younger, so it all came together. And now I’m partnered with [performance swimwear brand] Arena, working on a suit line. It’s been fun to see how fashion fits into so much of our everyday lives. I also was always fascinated with high fashion, which I still am, but it’s been neat to be in depth on the athletic apparel side because that’s obviously something that’s a huge part of my life. If you’re dressed well, you feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.
What’s a beauty product you can’t live without?
Perfume is the big one. I wear Gucci Flora, and I just love it because I spend so much time smelling like a weight room or a pool. So I always put a little bit on before bed to go to bed smelling good.
What’s your favorite trend in fashion right now?
Athleisure. I feel like everything’s getting a little bit more laid-back, and that’s been especially nice with training and stuff. Being able to put on a matching sweatsuit and still look cute and trendy, it’s perfect.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Motivated, creative, and adventurous.
What might you tell seven-year-old Lydia right now ?
To enjoy the process. I think that it’s easy, especially in swimming, to feel the pressures of: You’re seven years old, but you have to go to this practice, this practice, and this practice if you ever want to be good. And I feel like just remembering to live your life and there’ll always be another day to go to that practice or do the hard thing. So just enjoy life and enjoy the process.