Swimming laps around the competitionPosted: Updated:
We dive in, head first, into the world of competitive swimming, to find two stand-out student athletes and State Champs. Making a splash at Ahwatukee's Desert Vista High School, are sophomore Shae Nicolaisen and junior Josh Vedder.
"I don't know if I'll ever experience that ever again, says Josh when asked about the moment he knew he won the title of State champ in 2014. "It was so exciting." We caught up with Josh and Shae in Chandler as the Thunder faced-off against Arcadia High in their fifth meet of the season. "Not only to have superstars or front-end swimmers on your team, but also to back it up... it's a blessing to have that," says Head Coach Shawn O'Connell.
On this day, he was not breaking a sweat as his "underwater weapons" prepared to hit the water. Josh and Shae seem to have mastered their strokes. They're stream-lined, fluid and graceful, making swimming fast look easy. "And, that's what makes them so special," adds Coach O'Connell.
Last year, in the 100 backstroke, the State Champ title and Athlete of the Year belongs to Josh. With Shae's outstanding 4.8 GPA, she owns last year's title of Athlete Scholar of the Year as an incoming freshman and she owns multiple State titles. But, that's just the tip of the iceberg for these heroes on the block.
Shae was one of the youngest girls to qualify for the Mesa Grand Prix in 2014, and she holds the record in the 200 freestyle as a 12-year-old. That record still stands today, which she's still proud of. "It's always really satisfying," she says, "to see all my hard work and dedication pay off."
These serious swimmers have made plenty of sacrifices in and out of the water, including a dedication to their 5 a.m. practices, even if it means waking up before the sun. "I hate waking up in the morning," laughs Josh. "But honestly, it's worth it," he adds. Shae thinks it's worth it too as they both have sights set on an Olympic stage. And, for these two sensational swimmers, the sky's the limit.
The final outcome against Arcadia was close for the men and a win for the women. After Oct. 8th's meet against Mountain Pointe, the girls improved to 6 - 0 and the boys improved to 4 - 2. The weekend of Oct. 17th, Desert Vista will face a grueling invitational at ASU.
Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.