December 7, 2022

“Charge!” Lucas George yelled, with a kickboard in hand as he ran into the parking lot of his high school wearing nothing but a speedo. George was followed by his 18 high school teammates, all speedo-clad. It was four degrees outside. The boys were participating in what Lucas called a “Polar Bear Run,” where they would lap the school’s parking lot in their bathing suits, make snow angels and eventually make their way back into the pool.

This memory is George’s favorite from his 17 years of competitive swimming. He recalls the memory with a smile, and laughs to himself as he pictures his coach’s disgruntled face when the boys returned to the pool.

Now that George is a junior on Wittenberg’s swim team, it is apparent how far he has come since he learned to swim at the age of four, terrified of the water, but determined to learn like his older siblings.

“I would scream so loud that the ladies from the front desk at the pool would come in to see what was wrong,” George said.

Once he learned to swim, however, he never looked back. By the age of six, he was completely comfortable in the water and was the youngest person on his swim team. It was the inspiration of his three older siblings, all swimmers, that kept him going and eventually led him to Wittenberg’s swim team after his sister had spent four years as a Tiger. According to George, he would be lost without swimming at Wittenberg.

“Swimming was my platform for everything here,” George said. “It was the first thing I was involved in. It was who I knew and the springboard for everyone I know.”

While George says that his team is the best thing swimming has given him, he also believes that the sport has shaped him into the man he is today. He feels that the sport has matured him and humbled him.

“You can really relate a lot about sport to life,” George said. “When you are going through something tough, you have to be the best you can be and get through it. Those are valuable lessons that I would not have learned without swimming.”

George is a history major with an education minor, and hopes to one day teach and coach. According to him, the value of athletics is not in winning, but in building character and commitment to something worthwhile. His goal is to have a positive impact on other student athletes by encouraging them to continue to invest in athletics.

“Tell all your benchwarmers out there not to sweat being the star or being the best because you helped make Wittenberg athletics what they are today,” George said, in regards to this column. “Don’t ever give up. You have the respect of your teammates if you give your best effort.”

 

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