Victoria Villarreal: Fierce Swimmer Commits to Division 1 Swim Team


Victoria Villareal

Victoria Villarreal (12), an UNLV committed athlete, competes in the 100 backstroke, one of her strongest races.

Elisabeth Lee, Staff Writer

“I want to be able to look back and say, ‘I’ve done everything I can, and I was successful.’ I don’t want to look back and say I should have done this or that,” revealed swimmer Michael Phelps. As for Victoria Villarreal (12), an award winning swimmer and a committed athlete to University of Nevada Las Vegas, she can fully relate to this athlete’s words as she has executed and accomplished a number of triumphs throughout her swimming career. 

And she only plans on continuing to do so.

Villarreal initially began her swimming journey as a young child, her parents encouraging her to learn how to navigate her way through the water as an essential skill. However, Villarreal’s instructor was the person and motivator who pushed her to pursue swimming as a sport, instead of a recreational activity. 

When Villarreal started competing, she did not find an ounce of joy in the activity as it seemed boring and repetitive. Still, she continued the sport, and eventually found close friends who allowed her to realize the more engaging aspects of swimming. Racing with her competitors and committing to the sport became natural and something she would pursue all throughout her high school career.

Villarreal looked back to when she began swimming and recalled, “Now, I appreciate the atmosphere and culture that swimming brings. It is a challenging sport but I have developed some great friendships with many people.”

She currently competes in a number of races, however she is the strongest in the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley, and the 200 freestyle.

Through Villarreal’s experience, she developed a true passion for swimming, and learned many important characteristics of a successful athlete, good teammate, and effective leader. 

According to Villarreal, a strong work ethic, developing leadership skills, and finding ways to communicate or work well with others is vital to not just a swimmer, but any athlete. 

Moreover, every athlete has a core drive that propels them to continue and excel in their sport. For Villarreal, she finds joy in the feeling of accomplishment that comes with swimming.

My favorite part about swimming is hitting personal best times in my events because it is a rewarding feeling and my teammates are always there to support,” expressed Villarreal.

As a successful swimmer, Villarreal has met a number of feats that many athletes never have a chance to accomplish. In addition to being a four year varsity member of Ayala’s swim team, she was named MVP twice, league champion in eight events, named high point winner at league finals back to back years, record holder in the 400 free relay for the Palomares League, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finalist in the 100 back 200 free 200 Medley Relay and the 400 free relay, CIF champion in the 400 free relay, CIF Division 2 runner up, State qualifier in 2 relays and the 100 back, and captain of the swim team.

As many athletes have examples and mentors that contribute to their successes both mentally and physically, Villarreal pointed out that, “The role models that inspired me to do well in swimming are my swim coaches, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Phelps.” 

Villarreal’s qualities are also evident to her fellow swimmers and friends. Unanimously agreed on by her teammates, she is a dedicated swimmer with well-developed, and impactful traits that stand out to many people.

Kyle Pedroche (12) pointed out that, “Victoria is a good teammate because of her compassion, and [she] isn’t afraid to put herself in someone else’s shoes. I think it is important to know that Victoria is also an extremely loyal friend.”

Likewise, Villarreal’s future successes seem clear to her teammates. Through the experiences she has shared with these friends, they have been able to witness her potential in the sport and drive to become great at it. 

Sophia Pearson (11) shared what she sees Villarreal accomplishing in the future: “During our many long car rides to practice, we often talked a lot about our careers and what we wanted to pursue in life. In terms of swimming, I think she is a world-class athlete that any team would be lucky to have, and when she makes it to the Olympics we will all be cheering her on!”

As a result of her hard work and commitment to swimming, Villarreal signed the national letter of intent on November 9, 2022 to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Next year, she will be attending UNLV, where she plans to swim at the Division 1 collegiate level. In the future, she hopes to continue her swimming career as a professional athlete.

With her high school journey coming to an end, Villarreal leaves not only swimmers, but any athlete striving for greatness, a strong piece of advice: “I encourage everybody to always try their best and be consistent because results will not happen overnight. Most importantly enjoy the time you have competing in your sport.