In the wet and intense world of competitive swimming, Jon Alan Phillips is a relative newcomer.
Phillips took up the sport less than a year ago. He is still learning, striving and building his endurance. Phillips, the late bloomer, considers himself average. But he isn’t likely going to stay that way for long.
Right after his sophomore season at Troup High School earlier this year, Phillips decided that he didn’t have enough of swimming. It was then that Phillips decided to become a year-round swimmer of the racing kind.
The 16-year-old Phillips went off the deep end and joined the Troup County Sharks, the growing club team. Since then and over the past two months, Phillips has been getting an aquatic education, courtesy of Sharks head coach William Yin, the taskmaster.
“I’m here because I want to get better. I’m learning everything. Coach Yin taught me how to do the butterfly. He doesn’t let me stop. He pushes me to get better, and I practice hard,” said Phillips.
He is cutting time, but he isn’t cutting any practices. Since March, Phillips has trimmed two seconds off his 50-yard freestyle time. He was at 30 seconds, and now Phillips is buzzing down the lane in 28 seconds.
“I have a lot of improving to go, but I want to keep going fast. Swimming is my only sport, and I love it. I am always numb (at the end of practice), but I’m trying to get better,” said Williams.
He is still a swimming project, but he is someone that Yin looks forward to working with every day at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center. Williams has already come a long way in the past two months since becoming a Shark.
“When he came here he needed to work on his stroke. He did not have a competitive stroke. Jon’s stroke is longer now, and he works hard. He is intelligent and positive. And the kids like being around him,” said Yin.
The coach likes his one-onone sessions with Williams, too. The Sharks head coach thinks Williams could become a highly successful swimmer in the 100 backstroke, the 100-yard freestyle and the 50 freestyle.
“He is so into this. Jon has a swimming body. He is long and lanky. He has the perfect build,” Yin said of the 6-foot-1 Williams.
The workouts are making this swimmer better with every flipturn.
“Right now he is working on his strokes and endurance,” said Yin.
And what does Phillips want the most?
“I want to go to state,” said Phillips.
He just might have a chance in the near future after a few more rigorous practices with coach William Yin. But it is going to take work, more work and a burst of swimming energy.
Jon Alan Phillips is ready for the challenge and one more workout.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer