Two months ago, Daniel Gudgin knew nothing about swimming. Sixty days later the eight year old is a cardcarrying member of the Troup County Sharks swimming team. How does this happen?
“I follow instructions. I’m a fast learner, and I like the splashing,” said Gudgin, the third-grader from Callaway Elementary School.
Besides diving into his books, Gudgin is causing a few ripples at the Sharks swimming practices every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Only in June did Gudgin get his first swimming lesson.
He has come a long way since then.
“I like the water, and it’s fun to play. I’m (still) learning how to swim the freestyle, the backstroke and the butterfly. It feels awesome,” Gudgin said after the Sharks practice on Monday afternoon at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center. Gudgin’s parents, Lee and Christine, are all in favor of their son’s newly found swimming career. It is taking off.
“Daniel is learning focus and the value of hard work. And he is still having fun,” said his mother, Christine Gudgin.
Crystal Autrey is another swimming parent. Her daughter, Rosie Autrey, is a 9-year-old swimmer for the Sharks.Autrey has been a competitive swimmer for just 2 ½ weeks.
Her mom is watching every stroke and every arm twitch. It is all good for the mother and daughter. Rosie Autrey’s biggest fan is her mom.
“Rosie is getting stronger, and she is getting so much better. She loves it,” said Crystal Autrey.
Ana Sofia Vega is another competitive girl with a need for the water. She likes testing herself and does so as a member of the Sharks. She is one.
“I like going fast,” said Sofia Vega, who has been training with the Sharks for almost two years now.
She is a 9-year-old future champion of the chlorine and blue glistening water.
“I practice a lot, and we do some fun stuff. We do a lot of 25’s (25-yard sprints). I am good at the freestyle and the backstroke. Swimming is exercise, and you have to kick hard and use your leg muscles,” said Sofia Vega.
Kristen Moore is her coach on the Junior Sharks. T’Maya Davis is learning from Moore, too, the former Georgia Lady Bulldog swimmer. Davis is learning the proper techniques from somebody who knows what it takes to go fast in the water.
“I’m learning new things (all the time) about the butterfly and breaststroke. This means a lot to me. I love the water, and I’ve won seven ribbons,” said Davis.
The 50-yard freestyle and 50 backstroke are the two favorite events for Davis, the 10-year-old swimmer of enormous potential.
“I push myself. I work hard, and I come three days a week (to practice). I like having fun,” said Davis.
She also likes racing against the clock, which Davis does at every practice and meet for the Sharks.T’Maya Davis is a real swimmer with one year of competitive experience.