Performance of the Year: Josh Wadley Takes Down Goliath Record

Adam Depmore

An historic season of racing has now come and gone. The bar was raised as many Lone Star swimmers took the challenge, stepped up and threw down monster performances. There were many exalted swims this season as our swimmers posted illustrious performances that raised the benchmark for excellence on our team. 

What makes these accomplishments great are not the times they went, but how they did it. Every athlete elevated themselves to greatness not just by showing up that day and swimming fast but by putting in the work behind the scenes. Grueling back breaking work.

Rising to the “top” takes work. Work that most of us won’t commit to. Work that is not glamorous but rather gut wrenching and torturous. Through it all, character was revealed and our team once again showed the nation that we are in fact an unstoppable force. 

Leading that way all season long was Josh Wadley.

Background:

Some want to see their names at the top of the record books forever. In the past few years we have seen several mind-blowing record setting swims including:

  1. Kendal Kurowski 100 Back – Sectional Cut
  2. Antonia Leese 100 Breast – Sectional Cut
  3. Eryn Huaser  50 fly – 1 second within National Record
  4. Kerrington Hill 50 Free – State record 
  5. Dax Hill 54.8 100 breast – State Champion
  6. Annie Wang 50 Free - Futures Cut
  7. Ross Sullivan - First LSAC athlete to score at Junior Nationals

Another record that comes to mind is the 1650, that until recently was owned by Dax Hill.

The 1650 is one of the hardest swims an athlete can compete in. Pace, efficiency and strategy all make up a solid 1650 and the rigors that going into training for this event are soul-crushing and brutal. When a swimmer goes into swim this race, they know it’s going to hurt and hurt bad. Every single muscle will be pushed to beyond limitations there is no escaping the pain that comes from 15+ min of agony.

Essentially, if you are not ready to turn your body to mush, then you are not ready to swim the 1650.

The previous record for the 1650 was set 15 years ago by Dax Hill. Many of those who witnessed this swim knew we were watching greatness unfold. When Dax posted a 16:57 we knew that this record was going to hang around.

Dax had a frame for speed and a foot for propulsion. Dax was built for speed and he crushed the mile record and while many swimmers have taken their shot at the record, all have failed… until now.

Josh Wadley’s 1000/1650 record

Mark Spitz once said: Life is true to form; records are meant to be broken. Such is the case for Josh Wadley who obliterated the 1000 and 1650 team record, all in one swim…

A little background on Josh. Josh started at the bottom of the barrel. In my opinion, he had to work harder that just about any athlete to get to where he is today.  Nothing came easy to Josh as he was always last in the group, unable to keep up and in his own world as many of his teammates were years ahead of him. Josh doesn't have the Dax Hill or Michael Phelps build. Day after day, his teammates were swimming fast at swim meets while logging in miles at practice. Meanwhile Josh struggled to get by while under the radar and gradually drawing further and further behind.

Even now, you won’t notice Josh at a meet. In fact, there are only two times you may notice Josh.

  1. Right before a race – no one gets hyped like Josh
  2. During a distance race 

But here’s the thing about athletes like Josh. You never know when they are going to start dropping bombs. Athletes like Josh stay under the radar for a reason. They stay there and wait for their time. They are calculating and strategic. Like a Lion that hasn’t eaten in days, these athletes build an insatiable hunger. They’ve seen many other swimmers “make” it and can taste success. 

Athletes like Josh do not accept no as answer. Athletes like Josh do what it takes to make it happen and do not let anything stand in their way.

At the Alamo Mile, Josh came with a goal: Swim fast and break a record. In doing so, he made his presence known as “David” took down Goliath record.

Josh had a race plan to optimize his performance and the timing for this was within an ideal range.  Josh took out the mile out at a blistering pace. At the 500 he was already under 5:00 and was just beginning to make his move.

At the 1000 we knew we were witnessing greatness unfold as he smashed the 1000 team record by 7 seconds. That’s right, he was out with a new 1000 standard and, more importantly, he was only beginning to make his move.

At the final 100, Josh turned on the jets and it was over. While finishing with a 29 second last 50, Josh was able to lower his previous best 1650 by 33 seconds and crush the previous mile record by 7 seconds.

This historic swim is a testament to all the hard work and dedication Josh has put in over the years. As a coach, these are moments that we live for and inspire us. When the underdog finally gets to be on top. When David beats Goliath. When Rudy gets to see the fruits of his labor. 

For Josh it will only get better. While he has left his mark (including a team record in the 200 fly) in the Fall Josh will attend Hendrix where he has committed to swim for the Warriors for the next 4 years.

Until then, we will enjoy watching Josh perfect his craft at practice.