Age doesn’t matter much to Ethan Young.
Time is a different story — but the wunderkind swimmer wins most of his battles with the clock in the pool anyway.
Young, a 15-year-old Dalton High School sophomore and a member of the Carpet Capital Aquatics Club (CCAC), earned his latest accolade Friday night at the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. He clocked a personal-best time of 47.53 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing fourth in the championship final at the 18-and-under USA Swimming national event.
Charles Todd, Young’s coach both for the CCAC and at Dalton High School, said the time broke the Georgia state record in the event for USA Swimming. It’s also the third-fastest time for a 15- or 16-year-old boy in the event in USA Swimming history, behind Ryan Murphy (46.78) and Dylan Carter (47.22), Todd said.
“We’re all pretty pumped right now,” Todd said in a phone interview, joking, “I might even feed him pasta.”
Young’s final performance im-proved on his time of 47.99 in the preliminaries earlier in the day and shattered his previous best from before Friday, 49.09.
Trista Sanders won the event in 46.80 seconds, ahead of Carter (47.80) and Ryan Dudzinski (47.46).
As usual, Young reached a new level against older competition, as has often been the case in the fast-rising star’s ascension in the national ranks. In Friday’s 100 backstroke final, he was the lone 15-year-old — his birthday is Feb. 18 — in an eight-swimmer field that also had a 16-year-old, three 17-year-olds (the three swimmers ahead of Young) and three 18-year-olds.
Not that typically being the youngest one in the pool matters much to Young, who set the 14-under national record for the 200 backstroke a year ago for his first national age-group mark.
His time of 1:46.56 in that event bettered the 1:46.67 set by Murphy, who is now a freshman at the University of California-Berkeley.
“That is one of the great things about swimming,” Young said. “In football, it’s hard to compare quarterback to quarterback.
“You can always have assumptions, but really it’s hard to make a fair judgment. In swimming, it’s all about time, so age doesn’t really play into effect ... nothing really matters other than your time, so that’s the joy about it.”
Young said that when he first started competing at national meets as a 12-year-old he was sometimes intimidated knowing there were national stars, Olympians and swimmers he admired in the same building.
That nervousness has passed, and now the presence of fast swimmers — Todd said there are as many as 200 competitors in some events at such national meets — only serves to push him more.
“I feel like no matter where I’m at I can always swim fast,” Young said, “but having an atmosphere like this and having the preparation we put going into this meet, it sure makes my job a whole lot easier.”
Todd’s job is made easier by Young’s combination of talent and drive.
The coach said Young’s fast swim Friday night was aided by his “underwaters,” his speed and efficiency in the 15 meters swimmers are allowed to remain underwater in the event before surfacing for the stroke. Other coaches at the event approached Todd after Young’s swim, impressed by his grasp of the technique.
“He was just outstanding with that, and we’re pretty pleased with the results,” Todd said.
Todd has been talking about Young’s potential for years, and the swimmer has continued to make progress despite high expectations.
“He’s pretty good about working and setting goals with me,” Todd said. “He’ll set goals and try to achieve those, and over the years he’s been achieving those — and some of them are really high-end goals like being the national record-holder.
“He’s done these things and just continues to set goals and strive for them. He’s real goal-oriented and focused.”
Young came up short in his bid to make the finals in the 100 butterfly — the top 24 swimmers in preliminaries advance to the A, B or C final based on their times — after swimming to a time of 50.90.
He has one event remaining at the meet, which started Thursday and concludes today, and will shoot for the finals in the 200 backstroke. The backstroke is currently his strongest stroke, Todd said, but he has also done well in the butterfly and has made improvements in freestyle.
The only other CCAC swimmer at the event, 16-year-old Bryant Mathis, competed in the 100 breaststroke Friday. He clocked a 59.39 and missed the finals.
Age doesn’t matter much to Ethan Young.
- Dalton High School Catamounts
Dalton's Eder Mora will not play football
Dalton High School football coach Matt Land confirmed Friday morning that star linebacker Eder Mora will not play football this fall.
“Eder, obviously, is not here,” Land said after the opening of the first day of conditioning for area high school teams. “He has an opportunity to do something really special in soccer.”
Todd leaving DHS swim after 16 years
Throughout his 17 years with the Carpet Capital Aquatic Club and his 16 years with the Dalton High and Dalton Middle School swim programs, Charles Todd has received looks and offers from other areas.
But with his youngest child Chase still in school and his wife playing a major role in the Whitfield County Division of Family and Children Services, Todd wasn’t looking to make a move.
Bringing in the best
When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.
Cushman’s gamble is paying off
Wil Cushman never had to worry about establishing his high school’s swimming and diving program. Dalton already had a full roster and championship history.
His first two years at Birmingham Southern University, though, have been all about making sure the beginning wasn’t the end.
In the lineup again
When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.
Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round
Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.
All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age
Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.
All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year
As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.
Carlile gets a chance to grind
As Dylan Carlile saw more and more of his peers receiving offers from college wrestling programs, he became nervous.
The Dalton High School grappler had nothing to worry about, because when the time came, he had his choice.
Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A
In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
“There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”
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