A good attitude and a sense of direction can take a swimmer a long way.
Carlie Montgomery is the swimmer. The Troup County Sharks are the team, and the Mike Daniel Recreation Center is where Montgomery heads three times a week to improve her swimming techniques.
The future is now for the 10-year-old Montgomery.
“I believe I can win. I’m very competitive. I practice hard, and the coaches help me,” said Montgomery, who joined the Sharks less than two years ago.
The girl with the winning smile and the no-fat torso is in the process of finding out what hard work can do for a swimmer.
“I am pushing myself, and I’m getting faster strokes. I enjoy swimming. I have the passion for this, and I want to be a competitive swimmer for a long time,” said Montgomery, who practices on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
She works out with a championship mentality. Montgomery does not count the minutes until practice is over. She does no daydreaming at the Sharks workouts.
Montgomery is there for a purpose, along with the chlorine. Montgomery wants to get faster. She wants to be coached. She is always looking to trim her time. Montgomery is seldom satisfied.
And pain is a part of her game.
“I get tired, but I work at it. You have to catch the water (just right). I am getting better,” said Montgomery.
She is certainly capable of taking an ear full of water. She also listens intently to her coaches – either William Yin, Kristen Moore or Elliot McHugh.
Montgomery is not looking for a good place to rest. She is looking to achieve. She is hoping to win. She is aiming for a stronger pull in the water. Like any Shark, even the Troup County kind, Montgomery is always looking to attack.
She has an endless supply of energy. After Tuesday’s two hour Sharks workout, Montgomery practiced for another 30 minutes under the tutelage of McHugh, the highly successful and always driven LaGrange High swimming coach.
He had never worked with Montgomery until this summer, and he is doubly impressed by his new student of the swimming game. McHugh was keeping score at this practice.
“Carlie is extremely disciplined. She is determined and self confident. She is smart and very strong. Her turns are powerful. Her kick is strong,” said McHugh.
But above all, Montgomery is coachable. Not all swimmers are.
“I saw no eye rolls (from Montgomery). Trust is a big thing with athletes (and coaches). Carlie didn’t complain. Her dive could be better, and she needs tighter strokes. She could be more streamlined, but Carlie has some tenacity,” said McHugh, who still rates Montgomery very high on the scale of 1 to 10.
McHugh has seldom seen a more motivated 10year-old swimmer. Carlie Montgomery is a freestyle and butterfly ace. She has qualified for the GRPA State meet in both strokes this summer.
Montgomery will also swim in the state meet in the 100-yard medley relay. She is just scraping the surface of her swimming potential. Montgomery knows it, as do her coaches.
Carlie Montgomery is a driven individual.
“I practice, and I like it,” said the sixth-grader from Long Cane Middle School.
Montgomery is an unusual talent. She is always picking up speed in the swimming pool of life. Elliot McHugh has seen that for himself.