Sports Person of the Week
Faulkner Achieves Her Dream by Leading North Haven
Giulia Faulkner is looking to lead the North Haven girls’ swim team to a successful season as a senior captain this fall. (Photo courtesy of Giulia Faulkner)
At the age of 12, Giulia Faulkner decided that she wanted to seriously pursue the sport of swimming and potentially swim in college someday. Giulia has honed her craft as a member of the North Haven girls’ swimming and diving team for the past four years and is now leading the squad as a senior captain this season.
Giulia played a variety of sports like soccer, basketball, and softball while growing up. When she joined Hamden-North Haven swim team at age 10, Giulia knew that she had finally found the sport for her.
“I basically tried every single sport when I was younger. I couldn’t really find anything I wanted to do. Swimming was something different,” Giuila says. “Swim was something I wasn’t good at. It was challenging. There was just something that appealed to me about it.”
Giulia swam with the Hamden-North Haven team until she was 14, when she joined the Hamden Hall swim team, a program with which she still competes to this day. At first, swimming was something that Giuila participated in to spend more time with her friends. However, at 12 years old, Giulia started to take swimming more seriously.
“It’s a tough sport, and you have to sacrifice a lot. Practices were long, and they were every single day,” says Giulia. “But I knew I wanted to do this, and it was worth it to sacrifice the little things. I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
After competing in the individual medley and backstroke as a youngster, Giulia started swimming the 200 and 500 freestyle events when she was 13. Giulia always had endurance and felt that the distance races gave her a better opportunity to use her skillset.
Heading into her freshman year, Giulia got started with the North Haven swim team by participating in its summer camp. However, once she actually joined the team, Giulia realized that she was in for a much different experience than she expected as a varsity competitor.
“It was definitely something that was different and something I had never experienced in my entire life. It hit me like a brick,” Giulia says. “I wasn’t just competing for myself. I was competing with a team. It meant a lot more. As the season progressed, I got into my groove.”
Giulia was swimming in North Haven’s A group during her freshman season, competing against older athletes who had years of experience. Giulia says that her veteran teammates, namely 2020 graduate Riley Jooss, pushed her to become the best swimmer she could be. Together, they helped North Haven won the Class M state title in 2019, marking the first state championship in program history.
While she’s improved her times, Giulia wasn’t feeling too confident about swimming entering her senior season and was unsure of what her goals were. However, once she got back in the pool with her teammates, Giulia knew that was exactly where she wanted to be and started refocusing on the sport.
“I had a completely different mindset. I felt that there was a part of me holding back. The summer going into senior year, I went through a period where I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to. I was confused,” Giulia says. “Starting the high school season made me love the sport again. I grew physically, but it helped me grow mentally, as well.”
Giulia was named one of North Haven’s captains alongside fellow seniors Grace Finch and Taya Laborde for the 2021 season. Giulia says that leading the swim team as a captain had been dream of hers for years. When she stepped into that role with her two teammates, Giulia gained a fresh perspective on the sport.
“I wanted to be a captain on this team since I was 12 years old. I used to watch all the girls, and it was a huge thing. This team is so good. It meant something else,” says Giulia. “When we stepped into this captain’s role, it is a whole different feeling, it means so much more. Going through wins and even tough losses gave me a whole new perspective on the sport.”
Giulia’s goal remains to swim at the collegiate level after she graduates from high school. She has been speaking to college coaches from around the Northeast to find the best fit. As she begins her senior season, Giulia feels grateful for the opportunity to grow and compete with her North Haven teammates.
“Swimming with North Haven means the world to me. Even if I wasn’t a captain, being a part of this team makes me so happy and makes me love the sport even more,” Giulia says. “Swimming is a huge thing for me, and I am so glad I get to compete with the team I do. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”