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Hawks' Lefebvre an accomplished student-athlete

Mill Creek's stand out  swimmer Frederique Lefebvre practices at the Swim Atlanta pool Tuesday in Lawrenceville.

Mill Creek's stand out swimmer Frederique Lefebvre practices at the Swim Atlanta pool Tuesday in Lawrenceville.

As much as those perfect grades say about the Mill Creek senior, the lone B says just as much, if not more.

She got the grade her junior year in college-level BC Calculus, dropping her GPA to 3.97 when she finished the class with an 88 average. She scored 91 on the first test, but truly struggled from there and was happy to escape with a B.

"After that first test, I started thinking, 'Oh my gosh, what did I get myself into?'" Lefebvre said. "I was actually relieved to get a B by the end of the semester."

She left the class with her first B, but also with the knowledge that she had tried everything. Study groups. Extra work. Frequent meetings with the teacher, Janna Penn.

None of it pushed her to another A.

That said, her efforts didn't go unnoticed. Penn was very impressed and wrote Lefebvre letters of recommendation to her favorite colleges.

"(Lefebvre) is one of the most determined students I've ever had," said Penn, in her 23rd year of teaching math in Gwinnett County. "She's one of those students who is going to succeed, because she'll make sure she'll succeed. She's going to do whatever it takes."

That message isn't surprising to her swimming coaches. They have watched years of hard work from Lefebvre, who finishes her high school swimming career at this weekend's state championships.

"She accomplishes a lot of what she does on sheer sweat, on a bunch of sheer work ethic," said Mill Creek coach Rick Creed, who began coaching Lefebvre as an 8-year-old. "She works hard at everything she does. She's the epitome of what a student-athlete is. She values her education and takes advantage of the extracurricular activities she's offered. She just has tremendous self-discipline and drive."

Circumstances led Lefebvre to a bit of early learning, and fueled some of that drive. Born in Montreal, she learned French as her first language from her French-speaking parents and then moved with her family to Georgia as a toddler. She began learning English through videos, while also speaking French around the house.

Now she's fluent in both, which impresses most of her friends and coaches when they're not teasing her for being Canadian.

"I'm constantly reminded that I'm Canadian," a laughing Lefebvre said. "Of course I still identify with being Canadian, but I don't understand why people always make fun of me about it. I'm just like, 'Come on guys.' A lot of people think I'm going to say 'eh,' but I'm from the French part, so I've never, ever said that."

The early ambition in learning was matched in athletics. Though she tried soccer, basketball and ice skating as a child, Lefebvre has channeled her energy into swimming from an early age. After initial success in summer league swimming, she quickly added year-round training at SwimAtlanta when she was 7.

She was always a solid swimmer growing up, but took a major step at the end of her freshman season at Mill Creek. In the Southeast 13- and 14-year-old sectional meet, she made the A finals in every event and was the high-point winner in that competition. She began that season with no "select" time cuts -- which meant that she could train with SwimAtlanta's top group -- but finished it with eight qualifying times.

Lefebvre has maintained that position with the select group, relishing the hard workouts that come with it.

"I've gotten so used to it that I really like practice," Lefebvre said. "Well, not all the time, but most of the time. Sometimes I swim and I'm not really thinking about swimming. I'm thinking about other things, like my day at school. Or I make up songs. I do a bunch of different stuff, so it's kind of relaxing.

"Instead of coming right home after school and doing homework, I have a break and I get to hang out with my friends here."

The SwimAtlanta training has helped Mill Creek's high school team greatly. Lefebvre has been a solid point-producer since her freshman season, and joins Rachael Dudley as the two go-to swimmers at one of the state's top swimming and diving programs.

Affectionately known to many as "Fred" -- much to the chagrin of her mother -- Lefebvre has hopes of her best-ever state meet this weekend. She was state runner-up in the 200 individual medley as a junior, as well as a seventh-place finisher in the 500 freestyle, and she's coming off a pair of runner-up finishes at the county meet that included a time of 2 minutes, 6.43 seconds in the 200 IM, which broke Jordan Evans' school record.

Evans' record was set in the 2005-06 season, and Lefebvre has worked hard to track it down.

After this season, she hopes to swim for Vanderbilt, pending her Feb. 15 acceptance there. She has also applied to Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and McGill (in Canada), but Vandy is her No. 1 choice.

"What's always impressed me about Frederique is that she's always wanted to go above and beyond to be the best," Creed said. "She's very competitive, but she's very humble, too. And she's such a hard worker."

Creed, also a math teacher, hasn't just seen that work ethic in the pool. He taught Lefebvre in gifted accelerated integrated precalculus and geometry, after the Mill Creek standout voluntarily went through a month-long summer workshop to prepare for it.

Plenty more school is ahead for Lefebvre, who hopes to attend medical school. She'll have some hard classes along the way, but plans to attack them just like she did BC Calculus.

"She worked hard for that B," Penn said.

Hard enough that her only B may stay lonely among a sea of A's for awhile.

"She's extremely highly motivated as a student," Creed said. "She's just a pleasure to teach. She's very driven and she has high goals. She'll work hard and be a success in whatever path she chooses."

Comments

swimr4life 2 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for covering such a WONDERFUL young lady who has worked so hard to earn all of the success coming her way. She is a very hard worker but very humble every step of the way. I'm so proud of her and all that she has accomplished!!

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