Just keep swimming

Swimmer describes journey to Junior Olympics


Photo by Jasmine Stark

Sophomore Logan Diggs shows off his various first place medals from competing in the Junior Olympics. Diggs participated in the 2018 Junior Olympics and placed in four events.

Story by Logan Diggs, staff writer

I saw his face out of the corner of my eye as he threw me into what I thought was a raging, frigid sea. I remember staring at the my him above the water as I sank to the bottom of the pool. The pain of chlorine filling my eyes was blocked out by the intense amount of adrenaline that was coursing through my veins. Once I realized what was happening, I pushed as hard as I possibly could off the bottom of the pool.

After that, I only remember panicking for a breath of air as if I was still stuck at the bottom of that angry sea. However, I then heard my mom yell out to me as I surfaced, “You’re swimming! Just like your brother, fantastic!” From that day on, swimming has been an integral part of my life.

My connections to swimming were vast. Both of my brothers swam for the Academy of Texas Aquatic Champions (ATAC) Swim Club for three years and were members of the Texas High Tigersharks for their entire high school career. Although I started swimming— or at least floating— at the age of three, my parents believed that learning how to swim was a vital skill that I should learn.

I come from a military family, so it is normal to move from state to state every few years. When I was younger, my parents wanted to ensure that I could swim if I ever happened to fall into any body of water. As a result, they started looking for places that taught swim lessons. We finally found the ATAC Swim Club in Texarkana. This swim club competes all across the country and leaves dozens of kids with memories that they will never forget.

The largest meet of the year is the nationwide Junior Olympics that is open to all athletes registered with the Amateur Athletic Union. I was eleven the first time that I attended the meet with my family in Houston. During the meet, my eyes could not have been open any wider. Kids from all across the country came to this one meet to strive for nothing less but to be the best.

We got there a day early to look at the pool, and in all honesty, I was extremely nervous about swimming. Wild thoughts driven by anxiety rushed through my head but by the end of the meet, I had won five bronze medals. During the car ride home, I told myself that I would return and that I would improve everything about my swimming. Even if it was the smallest improvement, it would mean a lot.

During the car ride home, I told myself that I would return and that I would improve everything about my swimming. Even if it was the smallest improvement, it would mean a lot.”

— Logan Diggs

The second time I went, it was held in Virginia. This time, the swimming felt more mental than physical. I wanted a medal in all nine of my events, and I knew that the only person that could stop me was myself.

Going into the first day, I did not care what the event was, I just wanted to go fast. After the prelims, I went into finals seeded first in all three of my events. Before the finals began, I said a quick prayer and hoped for the best. I came in first in all three of my events and would do the same thing the two days later. After my very last event, I got out of the water and hugged my coach and ended the meet without losing a single race.

The third time I went was this summer in Des Moines, Iowa, and it was unlike any Junior Olympics I had ever gone to. I had just moved up an age group, and this time, I was not traveling with my family. Our club had rented a van to transport everyone on the team. It was only me, my fellow swimmers, and two of our coaches. It was the exact same meet set up this time except with the some of the fastest swimmers in the country.

Going from getting gold in all nine events to only medaling in four was pretty new for me. Although, while I was there, I realized there was so much more to this meet than just swimming. Different teams were exchanging swim caps and phone numbers— hundreds of people were making friendships and connections throughout the world.

From this entire experience, I learned that not everyone is good at something the first time they try it and to not be nervous before a race because all you can do is try your best and hope for the best.

It did not hit me until my team and I were headed back to the hotel that this was all just another learning experience. As I held the elevator door open, my coach said, “I hope you’re ready for next year.” That’s when I realized that whether I win or lose, competition betters myself as a person and a swimmer.