Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Swimmers' pride on display this week

There isn’t a lot of glory in high school swimming.

Fans don’t pack the stands until the season reaches the conference, regional and state meets. Practices are normally pre-dawn.

Football, basketball and baseball players usually get more media attention.
But the swimmers plow on. If they are fortunate enough to set a record, they’re mighty proud.

I got a proud-papa e-mail last week after writing a preview story on the N.C. regional meets. It was from Fred Johnston. His son, Ian, who swam at South Mecklenburg High, holds the state record of 57.1 seconds in the boys’ 100-yard breaststroke.

Ian set the record in 1992. It’s among the longest-standing records in state swimming.

According to dad, Ian Johnston went on to swim for the Naval Academy, where he was a two-time All-American, a 1996 Olympic Trials finalist and member of the Naval Academy athletic hall of fame.

"Today, Ian is a Navy pilot who lives in Naples, Italy with his Italian wife and two sons ... and still swims 5,000 meters every morning," he said.

He then made a joke about swim parents being obnoxious.

But, they’re not, as a group. The Johnstons should be proud, and dad sounds it.

The state meets are this weekend.

Swimmers and parents, this is your week. Enjoy, and good luck.

-- Cliff Mehrtens


Anonymous said...

Swimming has long been one of the most underappreciated and under-respected sports... here's to all of those amazing athletes who've completed thousands of flip turns in preparation for this weekend's meet! Good luck to you all, and HAVE FUN!