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On to West Point: Klein Collins swimmer overcomes adversity to fulfill dream

Klein Collin’s Lauren Carag chose her sport the old fashioned way – she followed her older brother.

“When I was young, I did everything that my brother did,” Carag, a 2018 graduate of Klein Collins, said. “So when he joined the swim team, I joined the swim team.”

As a 10-year-old, she began swimming with the local Premier Aquatic Club of Klein (PACK) where she would quickly develop her skills in the breaststroke.

It was not long, however, when Carag would begin feeling discomfort in her left knee.

“I battled for a couple of years with the pain in my left knee,” Carag said. “We had no idea what was causing the pain, so we decided to change my primary (discipline) to the back stroke.”

It was determined that the breaststroke and the force it creates on the lower body was creating too much pressure on her knee due to a Limb Length Discrepancy (LLD). Her left leg was actually shorter than her right leg by a centimeter.

Carag’s fortitude and determination of fighting through a chronic injury at such a young age left an impression on her swim club coach Mike McCauley.

“Lauren has an insatiable appetite for work,” McCauley, who is the head coach/executive director of PACK Swimming, said. “She has pushed herself to tears multiple times in the pool.”

After changing to the backstroke as a 12-year-old, Carag would develop into a nationally-ranked competitor. She would qualify in the backstroke for her first UIL State Meet as a sophomore and attended last year’s Winter Junior Nationals meet in December, representing the top one-percent of swimmers in the country for speed.

The crowning achievement of her high school career would come shortly before graduation when Carag was accepted into West Point as a Cadet-Athlete.

“When I got to West Point, the people I met there and the idea of serving in the army and using my life for a bigger purpose was very attractive to me,” Carag said. “I was sold on being there.”

Carag’s athletic goal is to medal in the backstroke at the Patriot League conference meet and is undecided on a major.

Klein Collins High School - Swimming
Klein Collins High School - Swimming
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