Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Meet a Member: Life goes swimmingly for former Olympian

Vol. 35 No. 4 May 2018
Rada Owen participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics and is a World University Games champion. She also was a 14-time All-American swimmer for Auburn. (Submitted photo)       

Name: Rada Owen.

Where I live: Los Angeles.

Where and when I was born: Richmond, Va., in 1978.

Education: B.A. in mass communication from Auburn University.

Occupation: Swim coach and instructor.

Military service: None, but I’m very thankful for those who do serve!

How I got where I am today: With a lot of support from my family, hard work and some natural ability, I was able to receive a full athletic scholarship to the school of my choice. I chose Auburn University, and from there I attained what is considered the pinnacle of my sport when I swam for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Having the title of Olympian in front of my name presented more opportunities for me that I may not have had otherwise. However, I honestly didn’t think I would end up with a career in the swim world; I initially wanted to be far from it. After venturing out in the workforce for a bit, I realized my forte, and my passion, is sharing the sport of swimming with others, so I returned “home” to the pool.

Where I’m headed: Probably to a pool! I’m quite content with where I am in life, but I hope in the future to be able help more people (and animals) who aren’t as fortunate.

Person in history I admire and why: JK Rowling. How she went from being a single mom in poverty to the first billionaire author who created a world so beloved by millions is the ultimate success story to me (though I don’t necessarily measure success monetarily). Plus, I wish I had half of her Twitter wit.

A quotation I like: “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live.” — Buffy in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

These are a few of my favorite things: 

1) Poking around antique stores.

2) Buffalo wings, which is the one food I can’t let go of as I transition to eating more vegan.

3) The charities Wings of Rescue, Swim Across America and Modest Needs.

These are not: People who don’t park properly. (It’s the L.A. girl in me.)

My doubts about religion started: As early as I can remember. I always felt weird and unusual that I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of a magic man in the sky. I couldn’t understand why people didn’t believe in Santa, yet believed in a god; it just didn’t make any sense to me.

Before I die: I would like to swim in all five oceans!

Ways I promote freethought: I don’t promote it too much, because of the nature of my job, but I do try to drop little freethought/nonbelief nuggets in any conversation that touch on religion, just to get people thinking. You never know how that may resonate with a person.