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Persistence personified

Posted: June 19, 2008 1:26 a.m.
Updated: August 20, 2008 5:03 a.m.


His voice mail states he's either sleeping, eating or swimming.

That's dedication.

Nick Korth's tale is one of perseverance.

The Hart High and Canyons Aquatic Club swim stand-out recently qualified, for the first time in his career, for the Junior National Championships in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Korth set a mark of 1 minute, 7.66 seconds at the Janet Evans Invitational on June 7.

"It's exciting and something that all swimmers of his age strive for," Canyons head coach Jeff Conwell said. "Very few achieve it and for him to do it in such a short amount of time is incredible."

With his Jr. National time, Korth is now ranked amongst the top 100 swimmers in the nation in his age group.

Korth originally joined Canyons to stay in shape for the summer.

In less than a year, he moved up to the top group of swimmers in his age group.

Conwell said he wasn't confounded by Korth's progress.

"We recognized his potential right away," Conwell said. "It's not a surprise, his has a natural strength and talent in the water."

"There are swimmers that have been doing it for years that never make it to the Jr. National level," he added.

Korth's love for the water began in the summers as a kid.

For him, it was just a way to have fun, and not a competitive outlet.

"I enjoyed swimming and being with my friends," he said. "I was always the social swimmer, I did it more just to hang out with my friends rather than compete."

That all changed in his freshman year.

Korth decided to try out for the champion Indians swim team.

Head coach Steve Neale's trials took place over three days. In the combination of events swimmers competed in, each had to finish under three minutes.

Korth made the cut in only one event, and just by a second, coming up short in the others.

And when the list of names that made the team was posted Korth's name wasn't on it.

But he was determined to be a part of the team.

At the advisement of his mother, he sent Neale a thank you note and swim times he had posted over the summer in his events including the breaststroke.

Three days later, he received a phone call from Neale inviting him to be a part of the team.

"I saw his will power and that fact that he had some talent in the breaststroke," Neale said.

Neale's decision to put Korth on the team paid off.

Korth was one of the most consistent swimmers this season in the 100 breaststroke and he was a factor in the Indians first place finish in the Foothill League.

The 6-foot-1 senior said the team's camaraderie played a large role in its prosperity.

"One person doesn't make up a team, it's everybody. It's still a team effort," Korth said.

As he enters into his senior season, Korth's ultimate goal is to catch the eye of some college scouts.

With his recent success, Conwell said it's inevitable.

"Just getting to the Jr. National level is attractive to scouts," he said.

Neale said that Korth's success comes at the right time. He said many swimmers burn out before high school, but Nick has yet to hit a plateau.

"He wants to be successful at the college level," Neale said. "The success for him did not come late, it's coming at the right time."

Neale added that as a coach one of the most satisfying things for him is seeing the progression of a young athlete.

"That's what high school coaching is all about," Neale said.

Now Korth shifts his focus to the Jr. Nationals.

He will continue to compete in meets with Canyons and looks to get more Jr. Nationals times.

"I want to continue to work hard with the rest of the team and try to better myself."

Korth said his biggest motivation is his mom. He credits her for keeping him focused.

"My mom cracks down hard, she's supportive in my decisions and I'm trying to strive to be the best that I can be," he said.

Neale said Korth's perseverance, focus and love for competition will allow him continued achievements.

"Nick's story will be told long after he graduates," he said.


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