Some people find success by chance, Evita Leter, class of 2013 at St. Brendan High School, found success with hard work and dedication.
At age 4, Leter heard from her neighbor that the swim team was looking for children to join. She asked her mom if she could join the team and a few months later she competed in her first swim meet. Since then Leter has not wandered far from the pool, practicing daily, and even twice a day for the past 17 years.
Originally from Suriname, Leter moved to Miami to train with a club team. In Miami she devoted her time to her academics and swimming so she could be competitive in the collegiate and Olympic arena.
While attending St. Brendan High School, Leter qualified for the FHSAA Swim Meet finals every year in the 100 breaststroke, improving her placement each year. During her senior year, Leter was named the school’s Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.
As someone who was not a heavy International recruit, Leter signed her letter of intent to swim for Florida Gulf Coast University, a D1 school. While swimming for the FGCU Eagles, she recently won her first conference title and was named the “People’s Champion” by former Coach Neal Studd.
During the spring of her collegiate freshman year, Leter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Her training was interrupted when she was admitted to the hospital, and she was afraid she would lose her swimming scholarship; however this did not even cross the coaches’ mind.
Leter was able to adjust her diet, work with her insulin levels during practices, and mentally get her head back into the routine of training at a high level.
“It was a setback not being able to improve my times, but I overcame it, and I am excited for where I am now,” she said.
About a month before the opening ceremonies, she was notified by FINA that she would be representing her native country, Suriname, in the 2016 Rio Olympics. “It is every athletes dream to participate in the Olympics, and it was mine too.
“I was ecstatic when I learned I would be participating this year, but my goal had always been to make it in 2020,” said Leter, who is now a rising senior at Florida Gulf Coast University.