Zimmerman, Larsson Take Different Paths to Javelin Success|
May 7, 2012
Being successful isn't simply about being talented.
It's about doing whatever it takes to rise above the competition. It's about being driven.
Track and field coach Susan Seatonsaid having the opportunity to coach someone like Zimmerman doesn't come along too often.
"Brian is one of those guys you only get once in a great while as a coach because he is very talented but he is also very driven," said Seaton. "He really truly cares about achievement for himself but also for the team."
Zimmerman, who won the javelin competition this past weekend at the Big East Championships, is a two-time Big East Champion, an NCAA qualifier and holds the school's record with a throw of 227'10".
While he has an impressive resume, it's quite possible that Zimmerman could have accomplished even more had it not been for several injuries throughout his career.
Most athletes would have found it hard to come back from as many as he has.
But Zimmerman put his nose to the grindstone and battled back.
"I put a lot of hard work in over the last four or five years, especially after the surgeries which are not easy to come back from," said Zimmerman. "It's a lot of extra time and a lot of extra dedication."
Although he was one of the top javelin throwers in the country when UC recruited him, Seaton said it isn't necessarily the fact that he's so talented that has made him so successful.
It's what he's done to prepare himself for competition.
"I really think it's his drive," said Seaton. "Because if you go in the training room and ask the trainers, that guy will be in there everyday pushing himself to the brink even when he's months and months away from throwing a javelin. So it's that drive that perseverance, that him wanting to accomplish something and pushing himself to the max that makes him so good. Because, he is talented, but there's many, many guys who have that and he just pushes himself so hard everyday. That's what I think had made him a two-time Big East champion and a national level javelin thrower and school record holder."
Zimmerman's career may be winding down at UC, but he doesn't plan to stop throwing any time soon.
The Olympic trials are coming up and if he throws well enough he may get a shot at making the Olympic team.
"I also have plans of making it to the Olympic trials this year," said Zimmerman. "I would have to throw at least 75 or 76 meters to do so...I would really like to see all the hard work pay off that I put into it and see a successful senior season."
But Zimmerman isn't the only thrower to make an impact on the UC track team. Emelie Larsson, a freshman from Hisings Backa, Sweeden, has also been impressive in her first season at UC.
In fact, she's already in the record book.
"She's having a great freshman year," said Seaton. "She's already broken the school record several times. She's ranked in the top 15 in the country as a freshman which doesn't happen very often for us."
One reason for Larsson's success is her unique ability to throw the javelin very well.
"She has very good skills," said Seaton. "She had a nice feel for the event, the javelin throw. Not a lot of people have that. She is one of those that have that special talent to throw something over-hand."
And, much like Zimmerman, what has allowed Larsson to be so successful is the fact that she is not only very talented, but she pushes herself every single day.
"What makes her so successful is her drive too," said Seaton. "She is very competitive; she wants to absolutely be the best."
Knowing that, it wouldn't surprise anyone to hear that Larsson wasn't very happy with her third place finish in the Big East Championships this past weekend.
She had much higher expectations for herself.
"She was very disappointed in that," said Seaton. "She had big plans. She wanted to win the event."
Although she didn't win a Big East title, Larsson has a bright future ahead of her. The NCAA preliminaries are coming up in North Florida where if she throws a personal best 52 meters she will have a shot at competing in the NCAA Championships.
Should she perform well there, she could be named an All-American.
"If she can repeat that performance and throw 52 meters or further in the NCAA Championships she would be in the top eight and become an All-American," said Seaton. "So, that's great for a freshman to be able to be at that level." Both Zimmerman and Larsson are talented athletes. That is reflected in their ability to break school records with ease.
Yet, it isn't their solely talent that has gotten them to where they are. Their drive and dedication to being the best of the best is what has made them successful.
Sure, they have talent.
But it's their drive that has taken them to where they are today.