Sport: Water Sprite

When 16-year-old Sylvia Ruuska arrived in Australia early last month, toting her textbooks to keep up on high school homework, the reception was overwhelming. "Back home I guess that hardly anyone's ever heard of me," she said. "But out here everyone seems to know all about my times and everything. It's fantastic." Sylvia cuddled koalas, toured amusement parks, visited Dancer Fred Astaire on a movie set, but never lost sight of why she had come: to show swim-conscious Australians what an American girl could do. By the time she returned to California this...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!