Amy Van Dyken
Swimming To Control Asthma
Amy Deloris Van Dyken was born February 15, 1973, in Englewood, Colorado, the daughter of Don Van Dyken, president of a computer software company, and Becky Van Dyken. She has a brother and a sister. From the age of ten months, Amy suffered from asthma and allergies that prevented her from joining other children in activities such as school field trips and overnight stays with friends. When she was six, her doctor prescribed swimming for the beneficial moisture in the air and because it requires control of breathing. Although she could not swim the full length of an Olympic-size pool without stopping until she was twelve, Amy kept swimming and fell in love with the sport.
By the time she entered Cherry Creek High School, Van Dyken was six feet tall and a self-described "nerd," who was shunned by other swimmers on the high school team. They called her too slow, threw her clothes in the pool, and spit at her. But Van Dyken, with her strong competitive drive, overcame the insults and worked harder. By her junior year, she was the star of Cherry Creek's swim team, earning six All-American honors, setting three state records, and breaking five school
records. She was named Colorado Swimmer of the Year and was sought by colleges throughout the West.