By Freja Cini and Hunter King, Cypress Falls HS
CYPRESS — While walking along the pool deck, two-time Olympian Cammile Adams can’t help but feel nostalgic at the sight of the varsity swimmers practicing in the water. Only a few years ago, she was in the same place as those in the pool, swimming for Cypress Woods High School and dreaming of what the future had in store for her.
Little did Adams know that her passion for the sport would take her to one of the largest stages in the world, where she would later place and become one of the most inspiring swimmers in the United States.
Adams competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and four years later in the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. She placed fifth in the 200-meter butterfly in London and fourth in 2016.
Now, as a retired Olympic athlete, she prides herself in teaching younger athletes to improve their skills, while also motivating them to follow their dreams. That desire to teach the next generation brought her to Cypress Falls High School on Oct. 22, where Adams visited the swim team, shared her story with the Golden Eagles, gave tips and advice and helped them in the pool.
“I love clinics,” said Adams, who graduated from Cypress Woods in 2010. “This is actually part of the reason why I wanted to own my own business and just have more flexibility within my schedule—to be able to still do clinics and give back to swimmers. I mean I was in their shoes not that long ago, so [I love] just being able to give back to them and hopefully inspire them.”
Adams won Cypress Woods’ first state championship, placing first as a senior in the Class 5A 500-yard freestyle in 2010. She went on to Texas A&M University and had a decorated swimming career sandwiched around her first Summer Olympics.
“I think the highlight of my swimming career was probably making my first Olympic team,” Adams said. “It was really, really special and it was so fun. My entire family was there. I had 10 or so people come to both London and my second Olympic team in Rio, so it was just a really special experience to share with them too.”
Adams credits her father, who was a swim coach, with instilling her spirited commitment to the sport, teaching her how to improve and excel from an early age. Her parents and twin sister, Ashley, who was also a talented swimmer, have always been the backbone of success.
“They were there at trials,” said Adams, who placed first in the 200 butterfly to earn her spot in the 2012 Games. “My dad and my sister were actually on the deck because my sister was swimming in the first one, and my dad was a coach, so he was on the pool deck. It was just a really special memory for all of us to have together.”
Adams’ decision to visit Cypress Falls was boosted by her enthusiasm for teaching and swimming. It was a perfect opportunity to combine the two aspects of her life. Following in her father’s footsteps when she was little, Adams now teaches a large number of people, young and old, how to swim and improve.
“I teach kids a year old and all the way up to adults and special needs the life skill of swimming,” Adams said. “We have a little tagline called ‘Bubbles to Butterfly,’ which is perfect. So, we do the learn-to-swim, teaching them the foundations of the strokes and the sport, and then we teach all the way up to skilled detail-driven within each stroke, so bubbles to butterfly.”
Adams did originally follow a dream of becoming a teacher after graduating from Texas A&M. However, last year she took advantage of the golden opportunity of opening her own business as she liked the freedom it granted her. The COVID-19 pandemic also presented a new problem with an increased number of drowning cases that she felt was important to note.
“For me, I really love the autonomy of owning my own business,” Adams said. “I think I missed that in the classroom a little bit, and I really just wanted to get back to a sport that completely changed my life and gave me so many opportunities. People [were] not able to take swim lessons for the first bit of the year, so for me it was just really important to spread the skill of swimming.”
Whether it’s competing in the Olympics, teaching kids, or owning her own business, Adams is adamant about finishing the goals she wants to accomplish.
“I think the biggest thing is not being afraid to just try something new,” she said. “I think sometimes in high school especially, and just in life, we can set these big, lofty goals and then are scared to go out and do them. I talked to the kids today about setting short-term and long-term goals. Your short-term goals are really, really important, like stepping stones to get to where you want to be eventually in your long term.”