The life of a high school swimmer is taxing. Oftentimes they have two practices a day, before and after school. With all the daunting hours of work, it's not the sport for everybody. Yet, it is the sport for Heritage senior Sam Schaefer.
“Swimming is a mental sport,” said Schaefer. You just have to stay mentally into it.”
Schaefer has been doing this a long time, a sport that is so unique from all the rest.
“It's not like any other sport where you can take off a week or a month and come back in to it with the same skill,” said Schaefer. “If you take off a week it's like you've taken off two months.”
Schaefer spends countless hours in pool, swimming upwards of six miles a day.
“It's just continually going to practice, working at it,” he said.
This weekend at the state meet, he's hoping it all pays off. He's a goofy kid on the Heritage team, but once it is race time, he's all tunnel vision.
“He can be silly at times, but when he's ready to go he's on the blocks and ready to compete and do what he needs to do,” said Heritage coach Julie Sakalares.
In last year's state meet, Schaefer finished fourth place in both his events. All the hard work he's done has built to this moment. Yet, whether or not he wins a state title, Schaefer comes away with something much more important.
“It's one of those sports that teaches you a lot about your character,” Schaefer said. “It teaches you leadership and to be a good teammate, work hard. It prepares you for everything in life you will need eventually. “
The state meet concludes Saturday in Little Rock.