It takes a special athlete to rise every morning before the sun, coax a parent or sibling into being a chauffer and/or becoming a chauffer themselves, then go to school, then go to another practice, do homework and somehow find time to eat and sleep.
And it takes an even higher caliber athlete to lead those special athlete’s in that schedule.
Juneau’s Glacier Swim Club recently selected four such individuals to represent, encourage, and lead their collective team through the pool waters of Alaska and all swim lanes south.
In a vote by swim team members, the GSC selected as Team Captains Claressa Ullmayer and Jimmie Busch and Age Group Captains are Jorden Davis and Sophia Kealke.
Ullmayer is a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School and specializes in the mid to long distance freestyle and backstroke events. When she is not in an event she can be seen enthusiastically cheering and supporting every swimmer.
“My favorite swim is the 500 freestyle,” Ullmayer said. “It is just fun to be in the water for such a long swim. I hope that my being a captain, and what it means to me, will help lead other swimmers to success.”
According to GSC coaches John Wray and Scott Griffith, Ullmayer’s strongest attributes are her enthusiasm and pure love for swimming.
Busch is a junior at Thunder Mountain High School and specializes in a variety of swim events including the mid distance freestyle, butterfly, individual medley and breaststroke.
Busch stated at this season’s high school swim championships, “I love going fast, working hard and cheering on my teammates. I like to win too.”
GSC coaches point out that Busch leads by example mostly, has a great work ethic and is respected by all his teammates.
“He is more of a quiet leader,” Griffith said. “But when Jimmie talks, everyone listens.”
Davis is home schooled and in eighth grade. He specializes in distance freestyle, butterfly and individual medleys.
Davis just moved to Juneau from Ketchikan this season and has been a big addition to GSC, having an immediate impact and becoming an instant leader on the team.
“My favorite swim is the 200 butterfly,” Davis said. “To me, being a captain means helping my teammates in any way I can.”
Kealke is an eighth-grader at sprint freestyles and backstrokes. Another in the lead-by-example mode, Kealke is very supportive of teammates and is well liked by every swimmer.
“My favorite race is the 100 freestyle,” Kealke said. “To be a captain and to help lead my teammates is such a great honor to me.”
GSC coaches say Kealke works hard, is very responsible and innovative.
“Sophia is always thinking of ideas to raise team spirit,” Griffith commented.
Davis was the individual points leader for 13-14 year-old boys in the recent Southeast Championships ending 2011, Kealke was in the top four for girls in that age bracket, Ullmayer was in the top six for 15-and-over women, Busch is in the top six for 15-and-over men.