Submerged in focus and passion


Racheal Sizemore

Freshman John David Cass swims competitively, not only on the Tigershark team, but nationally as well.

Story by Addison Cross, staff writer

Waking up at 5 a.m. and leaving the lanes at 6:30 p.m. can take a toll on someone who isn’t passionate. Having an emotional tie to anything can make all of the hard work worth it, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Lucky for him, it has paid off.

Freshman John David Cass, who competed for team Arkansas, got fourth and fifth place in two individual events and third in multiple group events in the swim division of the 2017 Junior Olympics. The competition was held from July 26 through Aug. 5.

“A good swimmer is someone that puts in the time to go to the pool at 6 in the morning to practice, even when they don’t want to,” Cass said.

Cass and his teammates definitely felt the heat at the event. Competitors came from all of the world to participate.

“[The competition] was very nice,” Cass said. “But it was hard. [The other swimmers] were fast.”

Cass and his teammates still managed to pull through, however. They didn’t let the tough competition discourage them.

“We got third place in [three] relays,” Cass said.  “Then I swam the 200 fly and the 400 [individual medley]. I got fifth place in the 400 IM and fourth place in the 200 fly.”

As far as training is concerned, Cass is always doing his best in the pool to make sure he’s ready for meets, big or small.

“We really didn’t train just for the [Junior Olympics],” Cass said. “It’s like everyday practice. We’ve been training for the past year straight, every day.”

The Tigersharks have definitely put work in with early mornings and long days.

“We get up at 6 a.m. and swim till 8:30, every morning. We go from 4 to 5:30 in the afternoon, but it’s fun,” Cass said. “The only thing I don’t like about it is waking up at 5 o’clock every morning to go to the pool. I put in the hours in the water to get better.”

Despite all the work and effort swim requires, Cass has his reasons for being so dedicated. Family ties to the sport help him to remember to keep pushing forward.

“My dad was a swimmer in high school for Texas High, and he won state,” Cass said. “Me and my dad would watch videos of him swimming at state and district when I was younger, so I always wanted to be like him. He is always pushing me to be the best I can be.”

Future swim endeavors also motivate him to grow as a better swimmer.

“I want to be the next Michael Phelps,” Cass said. “All I can do to be the next Phelps is practice and stay focused on winning and getting better.”