Who We Are: Amalie Mortensen
Sophomore Amalie Mortensen has embodied the Wildcat Way in her first two years at the University of Arizona, and as an international student-athlete has adapted quickly to her new environment.
"Growing up in Denmark, surrounded by water, it was a must for my parents that myself and my siblings learned to swim and perform basic lifesaving skills," Mortensen said. "Then, when we got good enough, we had the opportunity to quit. My siblings never stuck with it, but I enjoyed swimming and the competitive aspect of it. I made a lot of friends swimming, and loved the challenge of the practices and the friendships I made."
Most international athletes can have difficulties acclimating to their new environments once they first arrive to campus, however things were a bit smoother for Amalie thanks to her new Wildcat family.
"Denmark starts to teach us English early, so I spoke fluent English when I got here which definitely helped with my transition," Mortensen said. "My biggest challenge probably was following along in my classes if the professor spoke a bit fast. But having an instant community that I belonged to with the swimming and diving team definitely made the transition easier as well. I always had teammates, coaches, and supporting staff around me to help with things I didn't quite understand yet. Immediately being a part of that family made a huge difference with my acclimation here in the states."
Being so far away from home can take a toll on athletes and make them feel uncomfortable, but for Amalie it's just the opposite at Arizona for her.
"Arizona Athletics has an amazing supporting staff so not only do we excel in the pool, but also in the classroom." Mortensen said. "They have always been available to help no matter what the challenge has been. Being foreign there automatically occurs some different struggles that domestic students and athletes don't experience to the same extent, and the surrounding staff have been so understanding and helpful with solving them when needed."
Amalie found success in her freshman year as a Wildcat, earning CSCAA All-American second team honors in the 200 free. She held the fastest time on the team in the 100 free, and earned NCAA B cuts in the 200 and 500 free events. Mortensen's journey embodies the "Arizona Advantage", which is a key pillar of Arizona's "Wildcat Way" strategic plan focuses on promoting Southern Arizona as a premier destination for student-athletes, from near and far.
With all that success in the rear view and another season well underway, Mortensen reflected on her favorite memory from her first year competing at Arizona.
"My biggest accomplishment so far in my collegiate career is getting 3rd with my teammates at the 2021 Pac-12 championship in our 4x200 freestyle relay," Mortensen said. "This was so fun and huge as it was a team effort and swimming in the final was an amazing experience to share with my teammates. That is really what I love about swimming. Another achievement I have accomplished so far is becoming the 3rd fastest freshman in the nation in the 200 freestyle and finishing 14th at the 2021 NCAA championship."