Ask Alexandra Marshall what she loves about swimming, and her cherubic face morphs into an expression that can only be described as blissful.
“Oh, I love this question,” says the 23-year-old Queens University of Charlotte student, closing her eyes and smiling. “Swimming brings so much peace to my life. The stress that I might be having in life … all kind of melts away when I jump into the water. When I’m underwater, it’s very quiet. It’s very peaceful.”
It’s a sense of peace, however, that has often been agonizingly elusive for Marshall over the past four and a half years, as she’s endured a severe virus, then a devastating cancer diagnosis, then a rigorous chemotherapy regimen, then bouts with depression and resentment.
In May, she’ll be leaving Queens about as profoundly changed as any student can be by their college years. There’s just one more order of business she has to attend to as an athlete before that happens: