Arizona’s ‘Sportsmanship’ Winner Shimomura Racing In Santa Clara


Along with top talent Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte and Caeleb Dressel, another swimmer will be making her mark in Santa Clara at this weekend’s TYR Pro Swim Series. 20-year-old Sarah Shimomura is making her return to the long course pool after months of rehabilitation for an injury sustained early on in the NCAA season.

A student-athlete at the University of Arizona, Shimomura was walking home from practice when an ambulance struck her while she was in a cross walk. The incident fractured her femur and pelvis in three separate places. Surgery was required in order to place her femur and pelvis back into place, including placing a metal rod into her femur, two metal screws into the top of her femur, and one metal screw above her knee.

Shortly after, the Wildcat received news that her femur had formed an incredibly rare condition, known as a non-union. Non-union means the femur was not touching and growing properly. This also meant she would have to have another surgery, which she underwent in November.

For continuing to support her Arizona team throughout her medical ordeal, including flying to a meet 3 days post-surgery to be with her squadmates to cheer them on, Shimomura received the PAC-12 Sportsmanship Award for 2017-18.

Speaking to what helped her get through the tough times, including only being able to pull in the water and not use her legs, Shimomura states, “My love for swimming and competing [helped me through it.]

“Knowing things would be OK; there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. And, being an athlete, I was really driven to get back in the pool and swimming again.”

Now that competition has arrived, with Shimomura kicking off her Santa Clara campaign with the women’s 200m freestyle, the Wildcat says, “I’m excited. Being able to know I can do it again, to finish a race will be really exciting. I am not going to put too much pressure on myself — I’m back and ready to have fun.” (

Arizona Head Coach Augie Busch said of his expectations for Shimomura, “I think she’ll get back to herself and then some. I won’t be surprised if she does really well.

“This tragic, yet fortunate circumstance, was a great lesson for the team. Swimmers put so much emphasis on results and it’s not always a healthy mindset. It also illustrates what adversity really is, and how she reacted to it really defines her. I never saw any negative energy. She never felt sorry for herself. It is really inspirational how she reacted to everything. I am extremely proud of her.” (

Shimomura will also be contesting the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle later in the meet.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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