As Spring Valley's boys swimming team prepares for the Class 4A state championships this weekend, senior Andrew Ewing hopes team spirit will propel his Vikings to a top-five finish.
"We're really cheer-oriented. I think that's something the whole team really enjoys and it helps to get our energy up for competition," Ewing said.
The Vikings' chants echo around any pool, and Ewing's often is the loudest, coach Mike Loser said.
"Andrew is huge part of the spirit of our team," Loser said.
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He also is a big factor in the Vikings scoring, and his performance in the pool has helped Spring Valley to an undefeated regular season.
For the state championship meet, Ewing is seeded 10th in the 200-yard individual medley and eighth in the 100 breaststroke. He also will swim the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay and likely will anchor the 400 freestyle race.
All this in addition to maintaining excellent grades as an honor student and keeping up with year-round swim team practices.
"It's hard to balance every year ... and it can get very exhausting pretty quickly," Ewing said.
Getting through the short scholastic season, where so many demands are placed on him at once, is a major accomplishment for Ewing, who made a near perfect score on his SAT and won the 100 breaststroke at the Blue Devil Invitational in September.
"I take a little more pride in the fact that I'm able to balance both academics and swimming. I don't think I'm extraordinary at both, but the fact that I can handle the two things and do fairly well makes me proud," Ewing said.
It is not a feat Ewing has accomplished on his own.
"I'm lucky enough to have a lot of really great friends that I can lean on and my parents behind me. It's a large workload and without that it would not possible to excel at everything," he said.
After five years on the Vikings roster, Ewing has become a solid support system for his younger teammates, as well.
Swimmers such as Jonathan Boland and Ben Spinek, who are big contributors as freshmen, have a strong role model in Ewing, Loser said.
"It's really good. For example, in Andrew's two events, breaststroke and IM, Ben Spinek can keep pace with him, so they go back and forth winning. It benefits Ben that Andrew has a right attitude, that he can show Ben how to carry yourself in winning or losing," the coach said.
Ewing prizes his position as a role model.
"It's really great news to have such promise on our team and such depth. They're so young, after me and Hunter Bagnal leave, it might take them awhile but they will be good leaders of this team in the years after," Ewing said.
Tthat he is helping to solidify the Vikings swimming program is a source of excitement and energy for Ewing.
And, it's something to cheer about.