Daniel Matheson, a junior swimmer for Sunrise Mountain, was one of a select few athletes across the United States to work out for several days at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado from Oct. 24-27.
Matheson was one of 96 high-school-aged athletes from around the country, selected by their top times in different meets, to go to the training center in Colorado Springs on an all-expenses-paid trip.
There, he spent several hours each day fine-tuning his strokes, fitness and the mental aspect of swimming, with high-level coaches and instructors there every step of the way.
He also saw just how many great swimmers there are across the country.
“I’m used to doing pretty well and finishing pretty high in high school meets,” Matheson said. “But there, everybody’s out to do their best and you’re sharing the lane with so many good swimmers. It’s motivating.”
Another lesson he took from the camp was the idea of swimming is more of a team sport.
“In so much of swimming, it’s you against everyone else. But there, everyone was supporting each other. People were cheering others on, especially because at the Olympic Center they’re all representing America and the same colors,” Matheson said.
Sunrise Mountain coach Cris Dilworth said this attitude is exactly what she is looking for from her great swimmers on the team.
When he returned from the camp, Matheson was greeted by his friends and fellow Mustangs.
Many asked him about the camp and gave friendly barbs about him being interviewed and followed around by a camera.
He took it in with a smile.
Dilworth said some of the state’s top swimmers do not always get along so well with their high school teammates, preferring to hang out with their friends from club swimming.
“We tell them that they’re at the school meets as a group. You have the chance to wear your school colors, and you sit with your team. I was really happy to hear that it was something he took from the trip because that’s important,” she said.
Matheson turned his focus to training for the state championship meet on Nov. 8.
He finished third in the 500-yard freestyle and fourth in the 200-yard IM.
Matheson will now hunker down for several months in club swimming and take part in the process of choosing where he will swim in college after graduating in 2021. He already has several college offers and took a few visits as well. Dilworth said Matheson will make a coach happy wherever he decides to go.
“He’s really talented, and has the work ethic and natural skill to succeed,” Dilworth said.
“But it’s the other stuff that makes him a good teammate.”