By Rosanne Fohn
|Kim Pavlin has been swimming three to five hours a day, plus weight training, to train for the Olympics. She will swim the 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke for her parents’ home country of Croatia.|
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Keep your eye on the Olympic swimming competition July 30 and Aug. 2. That’s when Kim Pavlin, daughter of UT Health Science Center San Antonio orthodontist Dubravko Pavlin, D.M.D., M.S.D., Ph.D., and his wife Sanja, will represent her parent’s home country, Croatia.
Born in Hartford, Conn., before the Pavlin family moved to Texas, Kim has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Croatia. The Texas A&M University junior has been swimming since she was a preschooler with her two older sisters, “but Kim is the only one who stuck with swimming,” said Dr. Pavlin. He is a professor in the Department of Developmental Dentistry and Division of Orthodontics.
Kim will be swimming in the 200-meter individual medley (IM), beginning on July 30, and the 200-meter backstroke starting Aug. 2. Grueling workouts
The 20-year-old has been swimming three to five hours a day, Monday through Saturday, plus weight training. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid watching the Olympics on TV,” she said.
She came up through the ranks, swimming for her neighborhood team, followed by age group swimming and then as a Churchill Charger, while maintaining stellar grades and graduating with a 102 grade point average in the top 10 percent of her class in 2010.
|Kim Pavlin is the daughter of Dubravko Pavlin, D.M.D., M.S.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Developmental Dentistry and Division of Orthodontics at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
The Pavlins took their daughters to Croatia every summer to keep up with family there, and Kim started swimming on the Croatian national team in the eighth-grade. That’s when she began thinking about the possibility of swimming for Croatia in the Olympics. Kim tried out in 2008 when she was 16 for the Olympics in Beijing, but missed qualifying in the IM by seven-tenths of a second. While initially disappointing, coming so close gave her the drive to work even harder the next four years for the chance to compete in 2012.
“This year has been crucial, but every other year has been crucial, too. I’ve been trying my heart out. It’s been rigorous and intense,” Kim said. She helped the Aggies win sixth place overall at the NCAA championships this spring, swimming the freestyle leg on the medley relay that placed fourth. Individually, she earned 10th place in the 200-yard IM and 12th in the 200-yard backstroke.
In the European Championships this summer, Kim qualified for the Olympics in the 200 backstroke in 2.12.79, and in late June learned that she had set a Croatian record in the 200 IM, which also qualified her for that event in London. Proud parents
“She has sacrificed a lot, because swimming is very demanding,” her dad said. “We are so happy that she has been rewarded. For Sanja and me, this is very emotional for us to see her representing our home country.
“We are really very blessed that all our children call themselves Croatian-Americans. They are proud of their heritage,” he added.
“I’ve got the best of both worlds,” Kim said. “I get to go to school and train in the U.S. and then train in Croatia in the summers. This is quite an opportunity for me to get to go to the Olympics. Swimming for Croatia is my ticket to be able to go.”