By Ashley Cichon
Swimming is a worldwide sport that has been practiced competitively since the 19th century. Not only does it require work in the water, but also dryland training for strength. Competitive swimmers whose goals are along the lines of either earning a state title or participating in the Olympics exert all their efforts into making a challenging task into a personal achievement.
One of these competitive swimmers is Garrett Clasen, a sophomore at Batavia High School who has already accomplished many of his goals. But according to his coaches and teammates, not only does his swimming abilities appear never-ending, but so does his effort in and outside of practice.
“Garrett works extremely hard and is by far one of the fastest practice swimmers around,” said club coach Nick Parry, who has coached Clasen since he was 13. “He will swim times that are near state cuts in practice, and then swim even faster in a meet.”
In the 2015 NASA Showcase Classic, Clasen managed to beat the 400-yard Individual Medley (IM) 13/14 state record of 4:01.33 by 2.12, breaking yet another record. He also managed to finish 13th in the 400 IM and 17th in the 200 Breaststroke, as well as being the number one ranked 14-year-old in the country (based on his IMX score). And if this was not enough to make Clasen different from other high school swimmers, he has also won five individual state titles and one relay state title.
“Garrett is one of the most dedicated individuals I know,” said Clasen’s high school coach, Nicole Cleveland. “He wants to be in the pool and he wants to successful in all aspects.”
Clasen’s dedication is seen at meets, but even more importantly, at practices. During high school season, he swims from 3:15 to 5:30 and does dryland from 5:30 to 6:30. During club season, he practices two separate times each day, swimming roughly 4.5 miles, plus a weightlifting session. Throughout the duration of these practices, he sets goals for himself that he is determined to complete, giving 100 percent to increase his swimming abilities, according to coaches.
Clasen also makes it a point to attend every practice, even if they are optional. According to Clasen, he does not jeopardize his chances in meets by staying up late or overworking his muscles because he knows how damaging those aspects can be. Instead, Clasen makes sure to get a healthy night’s sleep and recovery day before the meet to get the best results.
“He knows he has to work hard and he’ll do it,” Cleveland said. “You never have to ask him twice. If he didn’t work as hard as he does and wasn’t so motivated and competitive, he would not be where he is now.”
Even outside of the water, Clasen keeps his reputation of a dedicated and committed swimmer. Clasen takes honors level classes and pre-engineering classes while maintaining a 4.25-grade point average. Keeping his grades up now prepare him for college, where he plans to swim competitively and make his academics a priority.
“He challenges himself at school and takes pride in his academics,” Cleveland said. “He has really started to enjoy the high school swimming atmosphere as well and gets along great with his teammates.”
Starting at the age of seven, Clasen has been determined to have his name on team record boards. His love for swimming motivates him to excel, but especially in the IM and breaststroke.
“My favorite thing about swimming is the time aspect,” Clasen said. “Rather than scoring points in a football game, you are trying to better your best time.”
Clasen, skilled and self-motivated, trains hard for his goal of qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. He is looking forward to what else is he is going to accomplish just in his high school career.