Bears Pope ECOL male swimmer of year

| February 1, 2013

COSHOCTON – River View senior swimmer Coleston Pope was recently named the ECOL male swimmer of the year. Pope has been swimming as a Bear for four years and made it to state last year as a member of a River View relay team. The Beacon caught up with Coleston following an early morning practice (5:30 to 6:30 a.m.) at the Coshocton High School natatorium – which is where the Bears practice and hold meets.

Pope said of the award, “I’ve been working really hard for the past four years and it was really exciting to get ECOL swimmer of the year in my home pool in my senior year. It was an exciting meet. This is my fourth year (of swimming), I started late in the game for most people and swimming has turned out to be everything for me. I’ve given up a lot of things to make my success in swimming all the more better.”

“I put in up to 25 hours per week swimming. I come in at 5:30 a.m. to practice before school; I come in late at night and get up to be here at 5:30 a.m. the next morning. It’s a vicious cycle.”

We asked Coleston how he balances school, swimming and other activities; he responded, “You just have to be good at time management, swimming sets you up for the rest of the world. It gets you prepared and organized, more efficient.”

Pope replied to the question, “What have you learned about yourself these past four years, “That when you think you have pushed yourself to the limit, there’s always more to give.”

A highlight for Pope was “Helping my relay team make it to state last year. Swimming is a team sport; it’s all about the team. You swim your individual event for your team. The team is everything.”

“I wouldn’t be where or what I am today if I didn’t have my coaches or my family or my friends supporting me all the way.”

Pope and fellow RV swimmers held their last home meet in the Coshocton pool on Thursday evening, Jan. 31, which was also senior night. He said of that night, “Last night was my last home meet as a high schooler in this pool. It was bittersweet. I am ready to move on but it felt good.”

Coleston said about the rest of the season which includes the sectional, district and state swim meets; “I would like to do well again this year. I would like to be All-Ohio.” To accomplish that lofty goal, Coleston needs to finish in the top 16 in an event at the state meet. He came close last year with the River View 400 IM relay team, finishing 20th.

Coleston had this to say to a young person considering high school swimming; “It’s a lot of fun. You get out of it what you put into it. You gotta jump in the water and just keep trying.  It doesn’t come easy – it didn’t for me.”

“I’ve had to make sacrifices, I couldn’t take as many projects in 4-H as I wanted to; I had to give up other sports. I’ve made my school work my top priority, and then swimming.”

Coleston plans to be a member of the Blue Knights swim team at Urbana University near Dayton this fall.

“I would like to thank everyone that has supported me through the entire process. It means everything to me.”

River View assistant swim coach Ed Gallagher had this to say about Coleston, “He brought honor to himself individually, and to the school and I guess that also reflects on the coaching staff as well. Any time one of your swimmers achieves to the positive that is a good thing. Our philosophy has been over the years that if a swimmer has a good swim we say “Good swim” if a swimmer doesn’t do quite as well; we say “That’s bad coaching.” So we bear a lot of the responsibility for our kids to do well. If they do well we put it on them that they did things right. If things don’t go quite the way they should then we take the blame for that. I think that is pretty appropriate.”

Gallagher said that to earn this honor, “It takes a lot of hours, a lot of dedication. Typically we tell kids at the ECOL meet that if they want to win that award, they have to be able to set a record. That causes other coaches to take notice of that and Coleston did that in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. He set new league marks and team records and so in doing that he rightfully earned ECOL swimmer of the year.”

“Our goal is to see him swim at the state meet; we want to see him earn All-Ohio honors. That would actually be our first swimmer at River View to achieve that mark. We feel like he is well prepared, he has paid his dues and he has done everything possible to get himself in that position. At this juncture you gotta get in the pool and swim and see what happens.”

“Success at this point of the season is a lot about fine tuning, said Gallagher, “Part of the balance in that – most of our kids are so tired – it’s really hard to maintain great technique and swim fast. We’re getting ready to do what’s called a taper, and that’s where the intensity of the work that we’re doing, we start doing shorter distances but the intensity goes up and then at the end the idea is that you reach a point where you’re completely rested and have great technique and you swim really fast.”

Gallagher said, “Coleston has been a lot of fun to watch. He came in as a short freshman, a short, fat little kid. (laughing) And look at him now; he’s a big, tall, handsome young man. He couldn’t swim very well as a freshman and now as a senior he potentially is going all the way to state in an individual event. The thing that is exciting to me is that we say we can teach anybody how to swim and be competitive; it’s up to you how far you want to go. Hard work in swimming is definitely proportionate to how things turn out in the end and he (Coleston) is a great example of that.”


Category: High School

About the Author ()

I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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