Pushing Past Pain

Carlie Solomon overcomes injury to set new record, aims for third trip to State Meet.


Alicyn Logue

Junior Carlie Solomon competes during the team’s final home meet of the season on Jan. 7. She has competed at the state championships as a freshman and a sophomore.

Morgen Dozier, Staff Writer

A year ago, the pain in Carlie Solomon’s chest was slowly getting worse. Over the course of a few days it became unbearable. The pain landed her in the emergency room and then the hospital. Through all of the tests, Solomon stressed most about her swim season. The district meet was just a few weeks away and if Solomon missed it, she would not be able to return to the State Championships.

“I was upset because it was the end of December and districts were the beginning of January,” said Solomon, the swim team’s only state qualifier in 2020.

Ultimately, Solomon was diagnosed with costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. It’s a sharp aching in the left side of her breastbone that is able to mimic the pain of a heart attack or heart condition. Solomon also had bursitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of the fluid-filled pads that act as cushions at the joints. Her bursitis was behind her shoulder making it hard to move her arms which is key for swimming. 

As soon as her team heard the news, the swimmers and coaches rallied to support her throughout the season.

“I was a little scared, I was shocked,” teammate Hannah Dove, 10, said. “I don’t think scared is the right word but I was shocked. I could tell the pain that she went through in practice.”

Throughout this experience only one goal was in Solomon’s mind: the District Championships. Districts was fast approaching but healing was slow and the swim team was worried. 

“I was very scared because I know many other people who have shoulder injuries who can no longer swim or can never go back to how they used to be,” teammate Renee Alcala, 11, said. “She was one of our key swimmers throughout that whole season. Just knowing she might not be with us the whole time was hard for me because I’d pace off of her in a lot of practices. She keeps me going.”

When Solomon was cleared to practice again she wanted to get as much yardage in as possible. But being out for so long frustrated her. She said she felt flimsy in the water and could only swim for 10 to 30 minutes before she wore herself out. 

“I made sure she wasn’t doing anything she wasn’t supposed to be,” said Dove. “When she didn’t want to get out of the water, but she was hurting I made her get out of the water.”

The support obviously helped since Solomon won 1st place in the 100 yard freestyle at districts. She went on to the Region and State meets for the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relay, ending the season on a high note.

While some discomfort remains, Solomon is doing what she can to push through it. 

In November, she swam the 500 yard freestyle for the first time and set a new school record. She broke the previous 5-year old record with a time of 5:17.89.

“I still feel chest pain,” she said. “It’s just very mild, but it will be with me for the rest of my life according to the doctor.”

Coach John Dissinger is proud of the junior’s perseverance.

“It’s always pleasing to see someone overcome obstacles and still be successful,” he said.