She is 5'9�" tall and weighs 133 pounds. Medical testing has shown that she has an extremely efficient heart, which pushes plenty of blood through her body, so that she does not suffer from extreme oxygen deprivation during a race. This is why, at the end of her races, she is never breathing hard. She also has a high pain threshold.
Tracy is not emotionally demonstrative. She never, ever thrusts a clenched fist in the air, as many swimmers do on winning an event. The biggest reaction one ever sees is a wide smile. And even that's not too common. "I do get excited," she says, "but I guess I don't show it outwardly."
On Saturday, the last day of the national championships, Carey won the 100-yard backstroke, Tracy got her record in the 100 breaststroke and there was a marvelous head-to-head swim between 16-year-old Mary T. Meagher of Lakeside Swim Club in Louisville and Sterkel, a sophomore at the University of Texas, for possession of the record in the 100-yard butterfly. Sterkel had wrested the mark from Meagher at the AIAWs in March, and Mary T. was determined to get it back. Sterkel did a blistering 24.78 split and outtouched Mary T. by a fingernail, 52.99 to 53.00, to set an American record. That victory allowed Sterkel to tie Caulkins for women's high-point winner with 80.
When Caulkins got up on the stand to accept her medal for the 100 breaststroke win, Harvard Swim Coach Joe Bernal presented her with a dozen long-stemmed roses. Bernal and the crowd were rewarded with a big smile. And not once did Tracy Caulkins say she should have gone a bit faster, which is not to say she wasn't thinking that very thing.
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