Just keep swimming: Junior swimmer leads team through hard work, determination

Steam rises from the water as the sun comes up over the Bryan Aquatic Center. The temperature may be well into the low 40s, but swimmers dive into the pool and begin their warm-up laps before working on specific strokes. Junior Ayden Ayers has been a member of the swimming and diving team throughout high school and has continued to show resilience and determination in each practice as has times have continued to drop and his dives have continued to earn higher scores.

“It is difficult to be proficient in both swimming and diving,” swim coach Glenn Williams said “but Ayden is a great example of what an athlete can do when they show up each day, try their best, work hard, and do what their coaches tell them. I never hear Ayden complaining or making excuses.”

Ayden uses the mindset that swimming has taught him in all aspects of his life. 

“Swimming has definitely made me more diligent and hardworking,” Ayden said. “Swim meets make it hard to get homework done sometimes, but I always find time to work on it. I think that swimming has taught me to build other people up through encouragement instead of tearing others down.”

Ayden particularly enjoys challenging himself by competing against other swimmers. “My favorite part of swimming are the meets,” Ayden said. “The rush of adrenaline I get before a race and the satisfaction I get from recording a new best time is worth all of the practice and working out. There’s nothing like the feeling of getting a new personal record and knowing the hard work is continuing to help me improve.”

Ayden competes with several close friends on the team, along with his younger brother Asa.

“In swimming, he’s gotten a lot faster,” Asa said. “He’s also gotten into diving over the past three or four years and has really improved.”

Diving focuses less on speed and more on precision, creating a different set of obstacles. 

“In diving competitions, I don’t really get the same rush of adrenaline, but I do get just as nervous,” Ayden said. “The satisfaction of learning a new dive is far greater than the satisfaction of getting a new best time.”

Ayden’s hardworking personality pushes his brother to persevere. 

“Ayden has been a big influence in how I swim and how I improve on my times,” Asa said. “I like to pace off of him, and he helps me get better.”

Williams recognizes the importance of having an athlete like Ayden on the team because it sets the tone of the entire season. 

“I can always rely on Ayden to swim hard in all the swimming events,” Glenn Williams  said. “Most swimmers have one or two favorite events and they do not try as hard when I enter them into their ‘off’ events, but Ayden continues to give great effort in every race he swims. As a result, he has become my first or second fastest swimmer in all eight swimming events and highest scoring male diver.”

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