Athlete of the Week: Junior swimmer Grant Redfern

Junior Grant Redfern qualified for state in four events including the 200 Free, 500 Free, 200 Free Relay and the 400 Free Relay. The state contest will be in Iowa City on Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12.

For you, what was a highlight of your most recent competition?

The atmosphere. District was a big meet, and it was a lot of fun to cheer loud for my teammates who were all reaching their goals and going best times.

What makes your sport special and different?

The time commitment. To be competitive, teams have to spend around three hours a day training. This helps create strong relationships with teammates and coaches that last a long time.

How long have you been into this sport, and what were the early days of your participation? 

Around 10 years. When I first started, I had to learn how to actually swim before also learning how to race. Swimming is definitely one of the tougher sports I could have chosen when I was that young.

How did/do you cope with any setbacks/losses you’ve experienced in your sport?

After meets, we always have a team meeting where we talk about the good and bad things from each meet. Instead of dwelling on the mistakes we made, we focus on what we can do in practice to improve.

Who has been particularly influential in helping your growth in this sport?

Coaches Clif Paulson and Chelsea Szczyrbak. They’ve always been approachable and do a great job at helping me set goals and keeping me on track to achieve them.

What do you do to prepare yourself before a game?

I forget about anything else that may be going on in my life and focus purely on my races.

How do you work on improving your skills in this sport?

Just going to practice and doing what I’m supposed to do. Races go by fast, so it’s important to develop good habits, and developing good racing habits just takes a lot of time spent in the water.

What’s a personal skill that you are targeting lately?

Grit. Especially in distance events it’s easy to get discouraged when you’re tired, so I’ve worked a lot on keeping myself focused and motivated.

Do you have plans to play this sport after high school?

Not currently.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your sport?

The relationships and friendships built throughout the season.

What has been a highlight for you/your team so far this season?

Districts this past weekend. Everyone was having the best times, everyone was up cheering for each other, and the atmosphere was great.

As you see it, what are the biggest tests remaining for you/your team yet this season?

After Districts we [had] less than a week to get prepared for State, so staying focused and getting ready for the biggest meet of the season in such a short amount of time is definitely a challenge.

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