Injuries are a part of sports.
No athlete understands that more than Western Albemarle’s Anna Livermon.
The senior swimmer has torn the anterior-cruciate ligament in both of her knees during high school and is currently recovering from an ACL tear she suffered during a family ski trip to Breckenridge, Colorado, in March.
Despite the adversity, Livermon held her head high and battled through the pain to represent her team and community at a high level. She expects to provide the same inspiration to her college teammates next year after committing to swim at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.
“What drew me to the program was the encouragement of swimmers who were already a part of the team,” Livermon said. “Multiple athletes reached out over text and social media welcoming me. Coach [Brent] Kintzer applauded me for my accomplishments on the Western Albemarle swim team and for having leadership qualities strong enough to represent Western’s team as a captain.”
But her journey to “Center of the Universe”, the Town of Ashland’s moniker, is something out of a movie script.
Livermon had already been accepted to Randolph-Macon and was set to join the school’s nursing program. She had also planned to join the club swim team.
“I was beginning my recovery from my third ACL tear when a committed RMC swimmer reached out to me asking if I swam,” Livermon said. “She proceeded to send me the coach’s number, which led to a string of texts, and a 45-minute phone call later, I was offered a spot on the RMC swim team. I never believed this would be a possibility for me. Now that this is a reality, I am beyond grateful.”
Livermon’s skiing accident was the third ACL injury she had suffered during her high school career. She tore her right ACL once while playing basketball. Later on, she sustained the same injury to her left knee while playing soccer.
“I have endured three ACL tears and surgeries throughout my high school career, which caused me to believe that playing a sport in college was something I could only dream about,” she said. “The injuries took away contact sports from life, however, swimming remained constant.”
Despite the injuries, she continued to train and maintain a positive attitude for her team and in the pool. Western Albemarle went on to win another VHSL Class 3 state swimming and diving championship this year and Livermon was a key cog in the team’s success.
A team captain, she received the prestigious Warrior Award, presented annually to the athlete who coaches believe are great leaders, friends and teammates.
Because of her ACL injury, Livermon expects to spend her first year on campus focusing on strength training and rehabbing her knee. When she returns to the pool, she will likely compete in sprints and mid-freestyle events.
During her recovery, Livermon plans to expand on her role as a team leader.
“I believe the qualities they value and nurture are similar to those at Western,” she said. “Because of that, I have promised the coach that during my time there, I will be a constant motivator for other teammates. I will lead with the same ambition and love that I have at Western. I will go into every practice with the mindset that I will get better today.”
Three generations of Livermon’s family have attended Randolph-Macon, but she admitted the school wasn’t at the top of her list.
One campus visit changed all that.
“When I arrived, there was a parking space with my name on it, welcoming me to the campus,” she said. “The school has an overwhelming feeling of community that reminds me so much of Western Albemarle.”
The small-town feel of Ashland also resembled the community she grew up with in Crozet.
“What truly separated Randolph-Macon from the other schools I applied to is the sense of community,” Livermon said. “It’s a small school in the little town of Ashland. I wasn’t set on the school until I visited and understood just how personal the school is.”
The senior said she was excited and more optimistic about her final decision.
“I didn’t feel any pressure as I was looking at schools because I was encouraged to find the one that was the best fit for me,” Livermon said. “The fact that swimming was part of the equation made it clear that RMC was the one.”
The decision also allowed her to reflect on all the people that helped her make her dream come true.
“Having this opportunity to call myself a college athlete immediately sends my thoughts to all of the people who have helped me get here,” Livermon said. “I can’t explain how much I appreciate my coaches, teammates, my family, my friends and my surgeon and therapists. Every single one of them has helped me be able to call this my future.”