LAKEWOOD RANCH — With 10 school and county records combined, Lakewood Ranch High School senior Ashley Reid and alumnus Johnny Silvers have made quite the splash in local swimming competitions.
Now, the teens have made waves nationally in the academic circuit as well.
Both Reid and Silvers were named to the 2009-2010 Scholastic All-American Team by USA Swimming — an honor earned by only 58 swimmers in Florida and more than 1,500 nationwide. Swimmers had to achieve at least a 3.50 GPA as a high school sophomore, junior or senior. They also must achieve a Junior National Bonus Time Standard, swim in a selected disability championship meet or swim in the Open Water National Championships during the qualifying period.
Silvers, now a freshman at Penn State, has garnered the award for his third and final time. Reid takes the honor for the second year in a row.
For holding two school and three county records, it’s amazing Reid has only been swimming for about four years.
Reid had participated in nearly every sport possible — from softball to soccer and golf — when she and her mom found themselves watching swimming on television. She decided to give it a try, attending a development league, where she learned the basics. Based on her performance there, coaches encouraged the Reids to place their daughter in a competitive swimming program.
Ashley admits she loves the feel of the water — especially dipping into the pool in the summer heat — but what she may love even more is the competition itself.
“For me, it’s striving to get better,” she said. “I like to be the best that I can be at something before I would ever switch (to another sport).”
Reid, 17, holds three county records — one in individual medley, one in back stroke and one in breast stroke — and two school records — one in individual medley and one in back stroke.
“Her drive and determination never cease to amaze me,” said Maureen Reid, Ashley’s mom and the coach for Lakewood’s swim team. “The best part, I think, is that she has never let all of it define her. She has always remained true to herself.”
Now a freshman at Penn State, Johnny Silvers’ love for swimming hasn’t dwindled one bit since he left the East County. Plus, he admits, it’s nice that his college team’s swim practices start at 6 a.m. — an hour later than in his high school days.
“It’s sleeping in for me,” he said, chuckling.
Silvers started taking swimming lessons when he was about 4 years old in his native Pennsylvania. As he got older, he participated in summer swimming leagues as well as a winter league. When his family moved to Florida, he began swimming year-round.
“It’s pretty much been a lifelong hobby,” he said.
In high school, Silvers earned three Manatee County records — the 200 free, the 200 IM and the 500 free — and two for Lakewood —the 200 free and the 500 free.
At Penn State, Silvers, whois currently studying pre-medicine, will be swimming the mile and 500-meter races, among others.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.