A summer highlight in the pool

Published 9:42 pm Friday, August 2, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Logan Eubanks swims the long course 200-meter backstroke on behalf of the Old Dominion Aquatic Club at the 2013 Virginia Swimming Regional Summer Awards at Newport News' Brittingham-Midtown Community Center in mid-July. Eubanks cut time off all of his events over the course of the summer. (Melissa Eubanks photo)

Fifteen-year-old Logan Eubanks swims the long course 200-meter backstroke on behalf of the Old Dominion Aquatic Club at the 2013 Virginia Swimming Regional Summer Awards at Newport News’ Brittingham-Midtown Community Center in mid-July. Eubanks cut time off all of his events over the course of the summer. (Melissa Eubanks photo)

Logan Eubanks is a rising sophomore swimmer who broke multiple Nansemond River High School records last season, and he followed that up with a strong summer, competing with the Old Dominion Aquatic Club.

ODAC has 200 swimmers, but of the 40 competitors who swim out of the Suffolk ODAC site, YMCA Camp Arrowhead, Eubanks was the only one to qualify and compete at the recent 2013 Virginia Swimming Long Course Senior Championships in Richmond.

Rising senior Ben Wilson of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy qualified in four events, but summer coaching responsibilities prevented him from preparing, so he refrained from competing.

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Eubanks qualified in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, and he took the opportunity of the championships to cut his times even further.

“I felt that I did really good,” he said. “I dropped six seconds, I think, from the 100-meter backstroke.”

His time was 1:04.87 seconds, and he estimated that he dropped about four seconds from his 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:24.62.

ODAC’s Karen Keenan, who coaches boys and girls 11 and older at the Suffolk site, was impressed with Eubanks’ improvement from the fall to the spring, which made possible his Senior Championship appearance.

“He wasn’t originally, at the beginning of the season, qualified for that meet, nor close to qualifying for that meet and ended up making it at the end,” she said.

He gained notoriety with Nansemond River for repeatedly breaking the school record in the 100-yard butterfly, but in the district and regional championships, he began coming on strong in the 100-yard backstroke, as well.

Eubanks said he has reduced his times in every one of his events this summer.

He highlighted how swimming with ODAC is different from school competition.

“It’s a lot more intense, and there’s a lot more fast swimmers to compete against,” he said.

With ODAC, he said, he enjoyed the ability to focus solely on his individual performance rather than also having to be concerned with scoring points for the team, like in school. He generated his Senior Championship qualifying times in the winter for the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke.

Other Suffolk swimmers on the team included Eubanks’ 12-year-old brother, Brandon, who cited improvement over the summer in his two best strokes, the backstroke and the butterfly.

His goals for the fall 2013 season include dropping time and going to Age Group Championships, which is a statewide event for swimmers 14 and under, just below the Senior Championships in speed level and prestige.

Another ODAC team member, Bryn Starks of Suffolk, almost qualified for the Age Group Championships, which impressed coach Keenan, because Starks is only 9.

With regard to her two top Suffolk swimmers, Logan Eubanks and Wilson, Keenan has high expectations in the next year.

“I want to see both of them swim a full slate of events at Senior Champs,” she said.

A full slate equals six events, and she also wants them to place in the state championships for their respective high schools.

For boys and girls ages 5-18 who are interested in joining the ODAC team, tryouts for the Suffolk site have begun and will continue from 7 to 8 p.m. at YMCA Camp Arrowhead on the following dates: Aug. 21-22, 26-28 and Sept. 4-5.

Practice begins after the start of school at the beginning of September, and the fall competitive season starts at the end of September and beginning of October.