Virginia Swimming Banquet Highlights and Summary

Virginia Swimming Banquet Highlights and Summary

This weekend Virginia Swimming (USA Swimming) held its Annual Awards Banquet at King’s Dominion Amusement Park. At this banquet, besides good “kids” food and plenty of rides, coaches and athletes were recognized for their outstanding performances over the past swimming year in Virginia. The banquet crowd was also addressed by keynote speaker former Olympian and current world record holder Aaron Piersol.  

A number of LY swimmers were recognized for their achievements.

  • Receiving the VSI Competitive Spirit Awards for LY were:

12 and younger: Jack Mills and Lauren Mazur

13 and older: Steven Mills and Casey Wrabley

  • Being recognized as Virginia All-Stars were Jack Mills, John Michael Gordon, JC Gordon and Ethan Navarro
  • Recognized for their participation at YMCA Nationals were Ethan Navarro, Josh Hankey, John Michael Gordon and Alyssa Reed.
  • VSI also posted the final best times rankings for this year’s (USA Swimming) short course season in Virginia. Making the top 10 list for the short course season were:

John Michael Gordon 13-14 boy 3rd 200 free, 5th 200 back, 5th 100 back, 6th 500 free, 7th 400 IM,

Ethan Navarro 17-18 boy 10th 500 free

Alyssa Reed 17-18 girl 1st 200 fly, 3rd 100 fly and 9th 200 IM

Anna Meinke 17-18 girl 5th 200 fly, 8th 100 free and 9th 200 IM

Keynote Speaker: Aaron Piersol (Summarized)

You need to swim for the right reason, because you love it. He told some antidotes of competitive swimming throughout his career but the main point of his talk came from a lesson that he learned while competing and failing. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Aaron was the favorite to win the 200 backstroke as he was the reigning world record holder. The 200 backstroke was his event, his baby. It was the event he trained for and over the previous 4 years he had dominated. Although he had already won the 100 backstroke at the Games, a surprise victory, he was ready to dominate his event again. In the finals of the 200 backstroke, he did just that, he dominated to win the race. During the on-deck interview afterwards the unthinkable happened. The scoreboard was changed to show Aaron had been DQ’ed. During the fray that followed, coaches and teammates going crazy, he followed his post-race routine of going and warming down. He said that this was the most important moment of his swimming career. During the peace and calm of his warm down he came to grips with his DQ and he realized it wasn’t the GOLD medal that had driven him all those years, but it was his love of the sport. All the hours training and pushing himself was about his love for swimming, being part of the team, traveling the world, competing and meeting other athletes. It was the feel of just being wet. Yes, he was disappointed but at that moment he realized that he swam because he loved to swim.

As it turned out, about 45 minutes later the ruling was overturned and he was awarded the gold medal, and he had to run to make it to the awards ceremony. The realization of how much he really loved swimming led him to swim until 2011, winning more Olympic medals and World Championships. He finally retired saying, "I ended up doing everything I set out to do". In the conclusion, he told every swimmer in attendance that you have to swim for the right reason. Swim because you love it.

 “All things love water.”   --  Aaron Piersol