Stroke by stroke, Nevada County continues to breed top talent in the swimming pool, and last week, Bear River junior Shane Anderson put that talent on display at USA Swimming’s Junior Nationals.
The competition is considered the nation’s top meet for swimmers ages 18 and under, and Anderson qualified among the best in the nation. Working with swim coach Daryn Glasgow at Northern Sierra Aquatics, Anderson was able to punch his ticket to this ultimate showdown in the pool, held Dec. 12-14 in Greensboro, N.C.
“This is by far the biggest competition I’ve ever been a part of,” said Anderson. “There were over 1,200 kids from everywhere across the nation. Greensboro Aquatic Center had stadium seats on one side of the pool. I’d been to indoor meets before, usually people come to finals, but even for the prelims, it was packed. It was pretty crazy.”
Anderson swam in both the 100 free and 200 free events, posting times of 46.95 seconds and 1 minute, 42.47 seconds, respectively. Each of his events had approximately 170 top-caliber athletes, and he finished around the middle of the pack, 95th in the 100 and 101st in the 200. The performance didn’t earn him a spot in the finals as he had hoped, but from what he tells, the experience was well worth the trip.
“I wanted to get into one of the finals, but I got sick before I left,” Anderson said. “I trailed in the 50 free with 21.66 seconds — a new PR. Coach Daryn and I flew over Wednesday, and my parents flew over and met us. It took a lot of work (to qualify). I’ve been working with Daryn the past seven years.”
The pool has now become an ocean of opportunities for the young athlete as he continues to push himself harder toward his future hopes of competing at the collegiate level. All it took was hard work, dedication, support and a plan that was put in place.
“(Daryn and I) set up a plan my freshman year to where I wanted to be so I would be able to get into the best colleges,” added Anderson. “I’ve gotten emails from the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, Northwestern University, Brown University, Louisville, Virginia Tech, LSU, and it goes on. Daryn has been the biggest mentor of my life. We have a pretty strong connection as swimmer and coach.”
And looking back at how it all started, of course, mom and dad had something to do with it.
“My parents kind of knew I’d get into swimming,” Anderson explained. “They took me to lessons and said I was trying do the same type of stuff in the kiddie pool while my older brother practiced.”
As for the memory of competing in Junior Nationals, it’s definitely one this swimmer will never forget. Now that he has reached a new peak, there is even more reason to believe in greater feats on the horizon.
“The whole experience wouldn’t be possible without the support of my Northern Sierra Aquatics team,” said Anderson. “Lots of the kids came really close to qualifying. One of my best friends missed it by 0.08 seconds. I’m really looking forward to Junior Nationals this summer. I think more of us will make it so we can have a team experience.”
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.