Smart Strokes: Lumberton swimmers make classroom splash


First Posted: 1/15/2010

LUMBERTON Pirate senior Leah Britt was trying to explain that her favorite class in school is her online history class.
Fellow senior and classmate David Butler couldnt understand why.
My government classes are my favorite, Britt said. I love doing my government work.
Butler began to explain his favorite classes, as juniors Drew Fanning and Callie Davis waited to jump in and share their thoughts.
This is not just a round table discussion with Lumberton students who have dedicated a lot of time to their homework.
They also double as four of the best swimmers on the Pirates swim team.
In the same meet on Tuesday that Maegan Hamilton set a personal best in the 500-yard freestyle, Davis took first in the 100-yard freestyle, Fanning anchored the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team, Britt was part of the first place 200-yard freestyle relay team for the girls and Butler was on the second place 200-yard medley relay team.
The familiar nature that Britt and Butler displayed in their exchange spreads throughout the team, and is a product of spending hours working out and traveling to meets together as a team.
All the people on the swim team are really good friends, Butler said. So we all get along really well.
Coach Jessica Embry appreciates the unique situation of having athletes who also set high goals for themselves in academics and manage to not just coexist, but thrive.
We have guys and girls together, we travel together, they hang out together outside of school anyways, she said. So practices arent one of those places where its all hard work and no fun.
Lumbertons swim team won an award in 2008 for having the highest grade point average among teams in the state and consistently have some of the highest GPAs among teams in the school. The real challenge for them, the students said, is balancing a rigorous school schedule and their demanding athletic practices.
We are all in AP classes and organizations, wow, I have three calendars, Davis said.
Fanning has found that after playing multiple sports in each of his four years at Lumberton, it has become easier to to keep a proper schedule.
We kind of have to learn too that we have a lot of homework each night, he said. “But we get used to it.
Its definitely gotten a lot harder as you get into higher grades, Butler said. Im taking three AP courses and a math right now, so its definitely been a harder year, but just from working with it and doing a sport each season, it becomes second-nature.
Britt gave examples of strategies she uses to help her with her course load.
You learn to work in school too, she said. So you can get ahead. If you have free time in class you do your homework.
The team also takes part in many meets during the weekend, including the conference championship this Saturday at Pinecrest, which further cut into the swimmers free time. While weekends for most students are a time to relax, Davis uses time during the weekend when she is not swimming to get out in front of her workload.
Weekends are the best thing for me,” Davis said. “I get ahead as much as I can.
I use Sunday as my homework day, Fanning said. Then if we have Tuesday meets, I try to get as much work done as I can that day, and if not, then Ill just go home and do as much as I can at night.
With a tough schedule it can be difficult to find time to unwind. These four find refuge in what would seem an unlikely place given their circumstances the pool.
If I have a tough day at school, I take it out on the pool and I feel better, Britt said. I know it sounds crazy, but its true.
Butler echoed her statements saying that while swimming can be a workout, I guess just being in the water can be kind of relaxing,” Bulter said. “I also like to hit up my XBOX.
Even with all theyve had to sacrifice to maintain good grades and remain top level swimmers, Davis summed up the groups feelings that they would not prefer it any other way.
Weve all grown up being involved in school stuff, so I wouldnt know what to do if I didnt have anything right after school.

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