Town Hall Meeting
Piedmont Swim Team members and parents came together at the Piedmont Center for the Arts to hear from three high school seniors. Simon Lins, Paige Arnold and Ryan Stokes had different journeys, but they all have one thing in common. They committed to swim in college.
“It’s been a pleasure to get to know them and their parents,” head coach Stefan Bill told the packed room.
Role for PST Parents
All three Piedmont Swimmers were joined on stage by their parents to share how they encouraged them to attend practice without being pushy. Amy Aubrecht, mother of Kate Aubrecht who started swimming for Amherst College kicked off the discussion.
“If there’s any tricks. It was bribing with food, right? Like parents are bringing hot chocolate or donuts.”
Piedmont Swim Team’s Paige Arnold agreed. “My dad, every morning before morning practice gets up and makes my lunch, which is really nice and breakfast before early morning practices.”
And when these swimmers wanted to quit, this is how they pulled out of their slump.
“In 6th grade I was fed up and dreading practice, but I had a conversation with my dad he told me to give it one more year and if I still don’t like it I can quit,” Simon Lins told his Piedmont teammates. “The next year I fell in love with it.”
Ryan Stokes added, “To just sit on the couch and miss practice, especially if you have a lot of schoolwork or something like that is really easy. But just for me, just telling myself you’ve gone this far, just one more practice.”
Coaches Coach, Parents Parent, Swimmers Swim.
Parents and swimmers agreed. The parents’ role in supporting their swimmer is simple. “Coaches coach, parents parent, swimmers swim.” Amy Aubrecht explained.
All of this support has given these kids the opportunity to swim in college. Simon is the first from PST in at least the last ten years to be recruited by a D1 school.
College Recruitment Explained
“Every single school in the country with a D1 program was talking to me,” Simon said. “It was really overwhelming.”
Simon was recruited by Cal, Harvard, University of Texas, Yale, Brown and Columbia to name a few but picked UVA. While his swim times were important, that wasn’t the only thing schools cared about.
“They are making an investment in you, not your times. They make an investment in your character and who you are striving to be.”
D1 vs D3
Paige committed to swim at Amherst College and Ryan at The College of Wooster. They say the process to swim at a D3 school is different. While D1 schools recruit swimmers, for D3 schools swimmers are the ones who initiate it. Amy Aubrecht shared her daughter’s experience getting into Amherst.
“You have to have the academics because there is no athletic scholarship.”
College coaches have a certain number of swimmers they can support, which can help you get accepted into the school. Piedmont Swim Team’s Head Coach, Stefan talked about his own conversations with college recruiters from around the country. “The Columbia men’s head coach essentially said, I’m going to put him at the top of the list.”
It Takes Sacrifice
All the Piedmont swimmers say they sacrificed social events and the opportunity to play other sports. Parents gave up vacations to attend swim meets.
Paige Arnold said. “Every time I miss a practice, I think it’s a missed opportunity.”
For Simon Lins, “When things get really hard it’s going to be discipline that will keep you consistent until motivation kicks in.”
Ryan Stokes summed it up. “Trust the process.”
But they all say it was worth it and they’re excited for what the future holds.
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