Erika Braun, 45, calls Raleigh, North Carolina, her home. She feels most at home, however, in the pool wherever she’s competing. You see, Erika not only swims with the Raleigh Area Master’s swim club, she also recently trained for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which she just missed qualifying for the 50 free by .37 second.
Erika returned to competitive swimming after a 12-year hiatus and became one of just three women over 40 competing in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She previously competed in Olympic Trials as a teenager in 1988. In a USA-Swimming event held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she achieved a personal record of 26.32 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle swim.
Balancing training, work, and time with family and friends comes with difficulties, but Erika manages it all incredibly well. Despite her rigorous training schedule, Erika continues to work full time as director of human resources at Golden Corral in Raleigh. During 2015, her employer, Golden Corral Corporation agreed to generously grant her a 6-month leave of absence to focus on pursuing her current goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials. This allowed her to increase her number of swims per week to six and work out with her strength trainer Wade Harris with Raleigh Personal Training three times per week.
In 2016, Erika was inducted into the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame in the Class of 2016 along with fellow inductees Ricky Berens, Cullen Jones, Mel Stewart, and David Marsh.
Erika is a Masters Swimming National and current World Record holder in six individual events. She is a 13-time Masters Swimming All-American and 6-time All-Star. She has been awarded the North Carolina Masters Swimmer-of-the-Year four times and has been a national champion in numerous individual events and relays. She is a member of both Raleigh Area Masters swim team and competes in USA-Swimming.
Erika attended the University of Georgia on a swimming scholarship and graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management. Active in her community, she also dedicates herself to serving the National Multiple Sclerosis society in order to raise awareness, promote treatment and ultimately find a cure. She resides in Raleigh with her husband, Eric.