One could easily assume that by December the average
teenager is getting downright exhausted. Bored of the drudgery of school,
relieved to be done with their fall sports and activities, you just know
they're waiting for the holidays so they can sleep til noon and spend two weeks
lounging around the house.
However, I know a subset of teenagers who are far from typical. During this time off they're in training, getting up at the crack of dawn daily to jump into freezing cold water, spending up to four hours a day staring at a black tile line. They know it'll hurt, they know they'll be sore, and yet they understand why they do it. They're Chattahoochee Gold swimmers, and they want to be the best.
When other teenagers are resting, Gold swimmers are riding a high coming out of an incredible December. Just a few weeks ago, the Senior State Championships were held at the 1996 Olympic Pool at Georgia Tech. This meet is meant for swimmers age 15 and older who have achieved the challenging time standards to qualify. The best swimmers in Georgia compete for three days in individual and relay events and hope to help their teams to a great collective finish in the club standings. For as long as Gold Head Coach Pat Murphy can recall, most teams could only hope to reach the third place title, knowing one and two were spoken for. The Swim Atlanta and Dynamo programs have long been Georgia swimming powerhouses, and together they had secured the Champion and Runner-Up places for so long that everyone else assumed defeating them was an insurmountable task.
That is, until now. On December 8th, Chattahoochee Gold's women's senior team was named the 2013 Georgia Swimming State Champion! Those not-so-typical teenagers earned that honor by pulling together and amassing points in every single event, and in impressive fashion. Overall, Gold recorded 22 individual top five finishes over 13 events. What's more, they actually won state titles in 11 of those, including 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, 1650 free, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Now, before you go thinking that Gold must have a secret superstar who was doing all the work, I'll point out that it took multiple girls to achieve this collective success. State titles went to girls from each of Gold's four pools. Katherine Aikins, Lauren Case, Emma Cole, Megan Young, and Kira DeBruyn were all individual event winners. The top five included even more names: Lauren Oglesby, Jaclyn Hill, and Lexi Glunn all rocked their events as well. And that's just the individual races! The Gold ladies won four of the five relays too. In the fifth relay, they placed a close second. The relay efforts of Rachel Pelzek, Megan Young, Lauren Case, Katherine Aikins, Kira DeBruyn, Jaclyn Hill, and Emma Cole proved that Gold really has team spirit!
The significance of being Georgia Swimming's top women's team in 2013 is bigger than just the title. It gives a deeper purpose to the hard work that these young athletes put in every day, all year long. For all the early mornings, long grueling sets, sore muscles, missed social opportunities, and constant exhaustion, these swimmers are learning that when they set out to achieve something great and unexpected, they can surpass even the loftiest of goals.
Gold swimming is about learning to challenge yourself and your teammates to be their best, in the pool and in life. As coaches we're massively proud of the times and titles, and of course thrilled to be number one this year, but as a whole we are most proud of them because we know what they did to get there. These swimmers are anything but your average teenagers and we can't wait to see what the future brings them!
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