Faulkner makes his dream come true by running North Haven
By By Dan Fappiano â¢ 09/23/2021 12:31 PM EST
At the age of 12, Giulia Faulkner decided that she seriously wanted to play the sport of swimming and potentially swim in college one day. Giulia has honed her craft as a member of the North Haven Women’s Swim and Diving team for the past four years and now leads the team as a senior captain this season.
Giulia played a variety of sports such as soccer, basketball and softball while growing up. When she joined the Hamden-North Haven Swim Team at the age of 10, Giulia knew she had finally found the sport for her.
âI basically tried all sports when I was younger. I didn’t really find what I wanted to do. Swimming was something different, âsays Giuila. âSwimming was something I wasn’t good at. It was hard. There was just something that attracted me about it.
Giulia swam with the Hamden-North Haven team until she was 14, when she joined the Hamden Hall swim team, a program she still participates with to this day. At first, Giuila participated in swimming to spend more time with her friends. However, at age 12, Giulia began to take swimming more seriously.
âIt’s a tough sport and you have to sacrifice a lot. The workouts were long, and they were every day, âexplains Giulia. “But I knew I wanted to do this, and it was worth sacrificing the little things.” I knew this was what I wanted to do.
After competing in the individual medley and backstroke events as a youngster, Giulia started swimming the 200 and 500 freestyle at the age of 13. Giulia always had stamina and felt that distance races gave her a better opportunity to use her skills.
As her freshman year approached, Giulia started with the North Haven swim team by attending their summer camp. However, once she joined the team, Giulia realized that she was going to have a much different experience than she expected as a college competitor.
âIt was definitely something different and something I had never experienced in my entire life. It hit me like a brick,â says Giulia. âI wasn’t just competing for myself. “I was competing with a team. It meant a lot more. As the season wore on I got into my rhythm.”
Giulia was swimming in North Haven’s Group A in her debut season, competing against older athletes who had years of experience. Giulia says her veteran teammates namely 2020 graduate Riley Jooss pushed her to be the best swimmer she can be. Together, they helped North Haven win the 2019 Class M State Title, marking the first State Championship in the program’s history.
Although she improved her times, Giulia did not feel too confident about swimming at the start of her senior season and was unsure of her goals. However, once back in the pool with her teammates, Giulia knew this was exactly where she wanted to be and started to refocus on the sport.
âI had a completely different mindset. I felt there was a part of me that was holding me back. The summer before high school, I went through a period where I didn’t appreciate it as much as before. I was confused, âsays Giulia. âThe start of the high school season made me love the sport again. I grew physically, but it also helped me grow mentally.
Giulia has been named one of the North Haven captains alongside her senior colleagues Grace Finch and Taya Laborde for the 2021 season. Giulia says leading the swim team as captain has been her dream for years. When she took on this role with her two teammates, Giulia gained a new perspective on the sport.
âI wanted to be captain in this team since I was 12 years old. I used to watch all the girls, and that was a huge thing. This team is so good. It meant something else, âsays Giulia. “When we took on the role of this captain, it’s a whole different feeling, it means so much more. The victories and even the tough losses have given me a whole new perspective on the sport.”
Giulia’s goal remains to swim at the college level after graduating from high school. She spoke to college coaches in the Northeast to find the best fit. As she enters her senior season, Giulia feels grateful for the opportunity to grow up and compete with her North Haven teammates.
âSwimming with North Haven means the world to me. Even though I wasn’t captain, being part of this team makes me so happy and makes me love the sport even more, âsays Giulia. âSwimming is a huge thing for me, and I’m so happy to be able to compete with the team that I do. I couldn’t ask for anything more.