Sequoyah’s Grant Davis had plenty of motivation to do well this season.
After showing he could compete at any level in the distance freestyles his freshman season, he was injured at the state meet, driving him to have a bigger impact this season.
“Coming into this year, I was really excited for the season,” Davis said. “Last year, I got injured at state, so I didn’t have a great state meet. I was just excited to perform really well, not just at county, but also at state this year.”
Davis, the 2018-19 Cherokee Tribune Boys Swimmer of the Year, did just that this season as he notched a pair of top-five finishes at the state meet.
He was fourth in the 500-yard freestyle and fifth in the 200 freestyle despite experiencing some nerves on the starting block.
“It was crazy for me,” he said. “I was swimming with a kid who broke a national record. You just have to believe you belong, swim your best and see where it all shakes out.”
Davis also participates in club swimming, but he said there is something different about swimming for his school.
He said the energy on the pool deck that results from the more team-oriented atmosphere helps drive him, particularly at the county meet, where Davis won the 500 freestyle and set a new county record in the 200 freestyle.
“Our teams get a lot more excited at high school meets,” Davis said. “It’s more high pressure. It’s more team oriented. I knew I could reach those times. I was just hoping I could get them here in the county meet.”
Not every swimmer is built to compete in the meet’s longest events, but Davis said he feels like he is a natural fit in the distance events.
Whether it is his dives or his ability to block out the competition for long periods of time, Davis said he prefers the longer races, and he has found plenty of success.
“I like those, because i don’t have a very good dive,” he said. “I have a lot of time to make up for that in the 20 laps I swim. I also like practicing the longer races. I tune everybody out around me and just sing in my head until the last two laps, when I just really try to finish as strong as I can.”
Davis may not have the same injury-induced disappointment to drive him into next season, but he will still have motivation.
After reaching the podium at state this year, he has his eyes set on the top spot next season.
“My motivation is placement at state,” he said. “I did pretty well this year, but I want to get higher. I want to win.”