Swimmer of the Year
EVENTS: 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke
ALL-STAR STUFF: Colby Childress enjoyed a stellar short-course season with the Lynchburg YMCA. His impressive time in the 200 butterfly allowed him to make the cut for the USA Swimming’s 2019 Speedo Winter Junior Championships, and he carried that momentum into his senior season at Brookville. It was during this campaign that Childress, a stalwart at the high school level, realized there was something special in the water for the Campbell County school. Along with a talented group of upperclassmen, he helped lead the Bees to the program’s first region title in boys swimming since 2013, and they then posted a runner-up finish at the Class 3 level for the best mark in program annals. Childress won Seminole District and Region 3C boys swimmer of the year awards, and he was named second-team all-Class 3 in both the 100 butterfly (area-best 50.08 seconds) and the 100 backstroke (area-best 51.71 seconds) after finishing second in both events at the state championship.
Q: You had a tremendous season. Was it everything you dreamed it would be?
A: I liked it. I wish I had won at states in both of my events, but I ended up getting second in both. It was fun. The team also got second, along with my teammates Brandon Naylor and Daniel Pettyjohn. It was a great season, and I’m happy with the outcome.
Q: Which of the two events you finished second at the Class 3 championship do you wish you had won?
A: The 100 butterfly.
Q: How close were you in that one?
A: Half a second.
Q: Have you replayed the meet and thought about where you could have made up the difference?
A: Oh yeah, totally. It was mostly the walls, so the turns and the start.
Q: The team finished second at the Class 3 championship and won the Region 3C title. Did you and your teammates know at the beginning of the season how good the team would be?
A: Not at all. We didn’t think we had a shot until halfway through the season. Then it all came together at the end, which is good.
Q: You won all but one event during the regular season. Your teammate Daniel Pettyjohn did not lose during the regular season. How much did the competitive nature on the team fuel this success?
A: It definitely boosted our confidence for states. When [we won] regions, it made it a lot whole more competitive at states for us to try and win.
Q: What was the key to your development this season?
A: My teammates, and I just really wanted to win, so determination.
Q: As a year-round swimmer, was there a particular point during the year at which things began clicking for you?
A: Going into our championship meet in December, my fly started feeling good and I got a winter junior national cut [in 200 butterfly short course], which is a pretty good cut, and I just felt good the rest of the season from them.
Q: Who was the toughest competition you faced throughout the season?
A: Western Albemarle, for sure. That school had Noah Hargrove from Charlottesville, who beat me in the 100 fly, and their team won states [and] beat us out.
Q: How competitive was it at the Class 3 championships against Western Albemarle after beating the Warriors for the Region 3C title?
A: At regions, they kind of did a sandbag thing where they didn’t put their best swimmers in, because they knew they had already made it to states. We beat them there, but at states they had their best swimmers, so they beat us by a pretty decent amount, and they knew they were going to beat us.
Q: This Brookville team was loaded with seniors. Was it gratifying to end your high school career with a second-place finish in Class 3 to go along with the program’s first region title since 2013?
A: I think so, yes.
Q: What’s the memory you’re going to cherish the most from your time at Brookville?
A: Definitely states every year with my teammates, Brandon and Daniel. It’s just a fun time. It’s been fun having the team atmosphere of a high school, which can go over to college. It was fun.
Q: Who has been your favorite teacher at Brookville?
A: Hank Reed, who is also the swim coach. I had him in chemistry. It was fun.
Q: Who was the funniest teammate to hang out with?
A: Brandon Naylor, for sure. We’ve been friends since probably about 5, swimming in the pool. We just know how to make each other laugh, and he just cracks me up.
Q: What’s been your favorite movie you’ve seen recently?
A: I’d say “Knives Out.” I like mystery movies, and that was really good. It had the person who played Captain America, and I really like that actor, Chris Evans. I was trying to figure out who did the murder and I couldn’t. I liked it.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief,” the series. But I’d have to say “The Lightning Thief” is the best one out of it.
Q: What’s your favorite subject you’ve studied at Brookville?
A: History. I like history.
Q: Where are you planning on going to college?
A: I’m going to Gardner-Webb, it’s a [Division I university] in North Carolina. It’s a Christian college. I liked the team there, so I chose it because of the Christian atmosphere, and I just really liked it.
Q: Did you get a chance to go on campus and tour Boiling Springs and get a feel for the small town Gardner-Webb is located in?
A: I liked the little town that it had. One of my teammates [at Lynchburg YMCA], I think she was the girls swimmer of the year, Ellie Eckert, she is going there. That’s good to have a teammate going with me. I like the town around it, and I like the atmosphere.
Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.
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