When you have a sport as individual as swimming, it’s helpful to have some extra motivation. Sometimes, that comes in the form of family.
Sydney, Sadie and Sara Norman are triplets — triplets from Fulton who all participate in high school swimming at Morrison High School. Being triplets doesn’t always mean identical qualities, though.
“They are an absolute joy to coach,” Morrison swim coach Chelsea Brewer said. “They are each so unique in their own right. If they had another sister they would have their own relay team.”
It’s true. Each athlete has her own specialty in the pool. Sydney specializes in the individual medley. Sadie has been working on the butterfly and backstroke. Sara is Brewer’s most reliable relay swimmer.
That’s just one way to differentiate them. Sadie and Sydney are identical, but all three sisters are unique. Sara considers herself the ‘talker’ of the three, while the other two are on the quiet end. Plus, Sydney and Sara play basketball.
“People say, ‘Are the Normans coming’ or we get called the ‘triplets’ a lot too,” Sara said. “Yeah, we are triplets, but we are individual people as well.”
But, they are also alike in ways. The three say that they share everything. That includes a successful swimming career. Part of that is credit to a friendly competition between siblings.
“You always have that competition and someone to push you,” Sadie said.
“You want to beat other teams and people,” Sara said. “But swimming with your sisters, it’s that sibling competition. It’s fun to swim against each other because we all want to be the best out of the three of us. That’s been going on since we were little.”
The three originally got into swimming because of their older brother, who swims and runs track at the collegiate level now. They swam for River City Aquatics before entering high school. Because they attend Fulton High School, they swim for Morrison.
“We started off not knowing anyone in Morrison because we were the only swimmers in middle school from Fulton,” Sydney said. All three agreed that meeting people in the sport is part of the reason they love participating. “We’ve made a lot of friends throughout.”
Although Morrison and Fulton generally share a friendly rivalry, they co-op for varsity swimming.
“People say, ‘Oh man, you guys are Morrison athletes, maybe we shouldn’t talk like that’. But we say no, go ahead,” Sara said. “We’re really big into Fulton sports, as well, and we enjoy the rivalry.”
The three definitely consider themselves more friends than anything else. That isn’t just them talking: the people around them notice as well.
“They have an unbelievable bond,” Brewer said. The Normans make up half of the six-athlete varsity girls swim team this season. “I have girls of my own, and they all have that love-hate relationship. I’ve never seen that with them. How cool is it that they get to experience this and go through swimming together.”
“We figured out that we didn’t get much done when disliking each other,” Sara said. “It’s more fun in high school. A lot of people change, but you always have two best friends who are never going to leave.”
It doesn’t come without it’s challenges, though. They say there are times when they get aggravated with each other, and that makes it more difficult because you can’t get away.
“You can go home and talk and say, ‘That practice was so difficult,’ but then also share all the memories and talk about the fun stuff, too,” Sara said. “You get the good part and the bad part about practices.”
“It’s difficult on your mind too,” Sydney said. “Having siblings doesn’t always help with that. When you’re mad at someone, you have to go home with them and you have to swim with them.”
Generally, you can see Sydney, Sara and Sadie with smiles on their face.
“We’re always making jokes; we’re always trying to get everyone to laugh along with us,” Sydney said. “Even if we’re in a bad mood we’re trying to get other people to laugh, we’re trying to get other people to smile.”
“Positive attitude really helps with everything in life,” Sara said. “If you have a positive attitude going into anything then you’re going to get a positive outcome. It’s important to always be smiling and and laughing about stuff.”
Sadie said: “I have one of the worst attitudes. Sometimes it’s really hard to find happiness in the sport. When you’re laughing with a teammate you kind of forget about the practice part of it.”
Even though Morrison is often one of the smallest schools at each meet — and it competes with many of the larger schools in the area — Sydney, Sadie and Sara are only sophomores and are already making big contributions to a young Morrison squad.
“This season for all of us has gone really well,” Sadie said. “We’ve all had big time drops. We hope to podium at sectionals.”
They will find out soon. Sectionals take place this Saturday at United Township High School in East Moline, Illinois.
“Our ultimate goal is to make state and break records on the board,” Sadie said. “I’m looking forward to that because we keep getting closer.”