There’s a marked difference between dreaming big and having Olympic-sized dreams. Atlanta transplant Heidi Hatteberg is flying high having just competed in her second Olympic Trial, but Olympic-sized dreams don’t always start that big.
Hatteberg began swimming when she was 3 years old. “In Texas we lived right next door to a pool and I just loved swimming and playing with my sisters,” she shared. “When I was 6, we moved to Kentucky and I jumped right into competitive swimming.”
While Hatteberg admits she has a competitive streak, she wasn’t initially convinced that the pool provided her path for life. “It would be a dream to be an athlete, but my athletic ability wouldn’t always be there and is often much more short-lived than my mind,” she explained. So when people asked Hatteberg what she wanted to be when she grew up she replied “pilot.”
After being recruited by Georgia Tech, Hatteberg pursued an aerospace engineering degree. By that time though the dream of becoming a pilot had been grounded and swimming became her direction. “When I was 16 my coach at the time presented the idea of Olympic Trials to me . . . from [that moment], I was hooked and turned all of my focus towards that, creating a vision and goal that I wanted,” she admitted.
Hatterberg attended her first Olympic Trials in 2008, which she describes as “one of the most intense and exhilarating experiences ever.” “I was so awe-struck,” she beamed, “I felt so cool.”
She may have found her first Olympic Trial somewhat daunting but while attending the Trials for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Hatteberg felt “more focused.” “[I] didn’t compare myself as much to all of the big name swimmers.”
Comparisons aside, Hatteberg’s journey to the Olympic Trials was a result of more than just her competitive streak. Hatteberg is dedicated to a rigorous training schedule that includes 9 swimming practices a week that are “specifically designed to work a different part of [her] stroke.” She also lifts weights 3 times a week.
Hatteberg reserves Sundays for rest but admits that she has a problem sitting still. Often she’ll go running. She hopes that running will translate into another athletic endeavor. “I would really like to get into triathlons but I don’t know the first thing about cycling,” she joked, “so maybe I will learn to love it soon!”
While Hatteberg won’t be swimming this year for Team USA, you can be sure she’s rooting for the home team all the way. In addition to watching the swimming events, Hatteberg says she has her DVR set up so she can catch all of the Track & Field and Gymnastic competitions.
Hatteberg feels “incredibly lucky and blessed” to have gotten to the Olympic Trials this year. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my family and their support,” she acknowledged, “or my coaches and teammates that have challenged me to reach my goals.”
In addition to her record-holding GA Tech swimming, Hatteberg also swims locally with The Atlanta Rainbow Trout. While her eligibility at Tech has ended and Hatteberg is flying high athletically, don’t be surprised if you catch Hatteberg taking off in another direction. “I love planes,” she reminded, “it’s still my dream.”