By Dave Denniston
October 17. USA Swimming has just released its annual list of Scholastic All-Americans. While most swimmers spend their waking hours submersed in chlorine and sleep as much as possible, there are the aquatic over-achievers who figure out how to crack open a book, take notes and exercise their minds as much as their muscles. These are the Scholastic All-Americans.
One look at a Scholastic All-American’s schedule will show that this is not an easy feat.
Most Scholastic All-Americans train in the morning, hitting the water anywhere between 5 and 6 a.m. Then it is a mad dash from the locker room to school where hopefully enough coffee has been drunk to keep them awake until lunch. Lunch time rolls around and the cramming of mass quantities of food begins and ends in about 15 minutes to half an hour. They finish up classes and go home or to the pool depending on the situation. This is where the Scholastic All-American manages to study before practice, and often times wishes someone would invent waterproof books. Then the athlete does their MAIN workout of the day, at times followed by weight-lifting or dryland. Then they run home and consume more mass quantities of food, followed by a snack and a protein shake while they begin their homework. Studying ends between 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. depending on the load. On lucky nights they catch some quick shut-eye and sleep in until 6:30 a.m. the next day.
The majority of the Scholastic All-Americans don’t go through this rigorous schedule just to see their name on a list once a year on USA Swimming’s homepage. Swimmers eat, sleep and breathe excellence, and desire success in every facet of their lives. It is the Scholastic All-American that goes beyond the pool to excel in life. Many of them have hopes and dreams to “get into” and attend the University of their choice after high school.
While all the Scholastic All-Americans deserve a big pat on the back, this year one club team in particular stands out from the crowd: Mecklenburg Aquatic Club. With 25 men and 25 women achieving All-American status, MAC has established itself as the leader in the pool as well as in the Classroom. That’s 50 total athletes from ONE program that have achieved Scholastic All-American Status. The next closet team to MAC was Dynamo Swim Club with 22.
“(I think) this is actually more than some LSCs have,” said head MAC coach, Dave Gibson. “I am extremely proud of these young women and men. They not only excel in the pool and are committed to it, but they can do the same in the classroom.”
The Scholastic All-America Team is comprised of high school student-athletes, who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and have competed in an individual event in the 2004 ConocoPhillips Summer Nationals, 1004 Summer Speedo Championship Series (sectionals), 2004 U.S. Open, 2005 World and WUG Trials, 2005 Speedo Championship Series (sectionals), 2004 National Disability Championships and 2004 Open Water National Championships.
Points system adds points awarded for GPA and for highest place achieved in championship competition. Points are only assigned to letter grades. Points awarded for placing in World and WUG Trials will be weighted by a 1.5 multiplier; points awarded for placing in ConocoPhillips National Swimming Championships will be weighed by a 1.5 multiplier; points awarded for placing in Speedo Championship Series will not be weighted; points awarded for placing in the Disability Championships or Open Water National Championships will be weighed by a 0.75 multiplier.