A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Meet Temara Jordan: A Sensational Student And Swimmer
By Kevin Wilson
Updated: July 9, 2007
MARYLAND — There are countless reasons to explore the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex, a state of the art facility located in Landover, Maryland. For Temara Jordan, a sensational student-athlete at 16, it’s the 12-lane swimming pool she’s addicted to.
As she entered the facility one Thursday evening, Temara and her mother, Michelle, routinely stops by the front customer service desk to greet JoAnne Kelly.
Proceeding to her ultimate destination, she signs the log book for all swimmers, smiles and greets Sylvester Cal, known as the main street monitor on duty.
Minutes later, the 3.7 grade point average and upcoming senior at Fairmount Heights High School, switches from her casual dress attire to a two piece swim suit, wearing a silicone swim cap, Speedo vanquishers goggles and a pair of black drag shorts.
“She wears drag shorts for resistance in the water,” her mother clarified. Temara fills up her water bottle, and says hello to Ruby Davis, one of many fans.
Waiting patiently for instructions from Coach Corey Wallace, the advance swimming coach of the Theresa Banks Shark Tigers, Temara draws a crowd. “Hello Temara,” shouted two female teammates. Shyly, she waves. Per night each swimmer must swim between 8,000 to 10,000 yards.
The three-time high school M.V.P. stretches for 15-20 minutes before jumping in lane five to began the required backstroke drill. With ease, she swims multiple sets of the butterfly.
To perfect the freestyle, Temara utilizes the hand paddles to make certain her stroke is just right. Coach Wallace, a graduate of Clemson, has tutored Temara for seven years.
“She’s the hardest working swimmer I’ve ever coach, very teachable and has the drive and willingness to be an Olympian”, coach Wallace added
During practice five evenings a week, one never know who’s watching whom. Even though Lauren Artis was inspired by her sisters, Taylor and Jazmine to swim, this five year old admires Temara.
“Temara has told me in order to be good, you have to be strong and fast,” says the two-year competitor.
Throughout the Shark Tigers workout regimen, Temara swims 25 yards, eight times from a push off position. It helps to perfect her turn from wall to wall. Gracefully, she’ll display 10 flip turns from the freestyle and 20 50-yard swim kicks with the legs only.
Surprisingly, before doing 50 push ups, she defeated three males doing the freestyle as she backstroked to the finish. After the relays, Temara helps pack the equipment and heads to the locker room.
Temara wore her first swim suit, at age two. Her determination and competitiveness began at age six. Her oldest sibling, Latisha Nicole Jordan, inspired her.
What stimulates Temara about swimming, is the fact that it is rare for an African American. To explore and excel in such a sport makes her jubilant. In a 10-year span, Temara has set 10 team summer records in different events.
Versatility, she utters, allows her to dominate the butterfly, backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke. The 50 meter backstroke is her favorite event.
“You don’t have to use your stomach, you go on your back and you just feel free,” says the five-time individual summer pool titleholder.
Selected in May, among seven U.S. contestants to swim in a consolation exhibition meet (50 yard freestyle) against Maritza Correia, the first African American female Olympian in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Temara finished second to Maritza (24.0) with a time of 25.51.
“I remember that meet last year. I dove in and everyone was far behind, but this year, I looked over and saw her right next to me. She really stayed with me. If Temara sticks with it and gets to the trials, she could really make her mark,” says Correia, a former Georgia Bulldog.
During the first dual meet of the summer against West Anne Arundel, at the J. Franklyn Bourne Pool in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, on June 16, the scenario resembled a scene from the movie “Pride.”
The Tiger Sharks controlled the meet from beginning to end. In the girls 15-18, 100 meter freestyle, Temara was ahead of the pack at the buoy. She finished first with a time of 1:08.94. “Temara is a really good swimmer” says Sarah Mc Cray, a 2007 All Gazette second team honoree, who placed third.
The Tiger Sharks tallied 321 points. West Anne Arundel was next with 217. Temara was unbeatable as she swam uncontested in each event. Coach John Venit first noticed Temara doing the backstroke at age 12. “Personally, I wish she was swimming for my team,” he stated.
The 2007 Female Athlete of the Year at Fairmount Heights High won the 50 meter backstroke (34.02) and the 100 meter Individual Medley (1:16.84). The Tiger Sharks girls 9-18, 200 meter Graduated Freestyle Relay team featuring Deloris Jackson, Anise Foreman, Kelsey Carter and anchor Temara Jordan broke a pool record of 2:19.26 set in 2003. (2:18.96)
Challenging Pointer Ridge and Cheverly, Temara remains undefeated, thus far. She was triple winner on June 30 as the Tiger Sharks won 295- 244 against Cheverly.
“She’s a top notch swimmer, who wants to perfect ever race, and she has the personality to go along way,” Tom Devlin, a former athlete voiced.
After seeing the movie “Pride” with 86 teammates, Temara is encouraged even more to pursue her dreams. In doing so, she’ll be greeting more people for years to come.
Last Updated Jul 9, 2007