Wyatt Pritchard earns athlete of the week

Dale Williams, Staff Writer

William “Wyatt” Pritchard does many sports but so far this year his most impressive has been Boys Swim and Dive. He has PRed or personal record four races in a meet not only once, but twice this season which is an amazing feat. He’s done this by showing great work ethic, improvement, and his pure love for the sport. Thanks to his amazing improvement and times he has won Auburn’s Athlete of the Week. 

During an interview I asked a few questions and he gave great answers, Wyatt’s favorite thing about swimming and why he does it is the challenge it poses and how it gets him in shape. He said, “I’ve known how to swim since I was 6 months old and I always felt comfortable in the water. Growing up I played basketball but quit sophomore year. I took a year off of playing a winter sport and joined swim next year.”

You PRed in 4 races in 2 different meets, will it happen again? He responded “ Setting a PR in every race you swim in the meet was a sure sign my effort was paying off, but it is pretty rare to do it not only once, but twice in a season. Right now, we are focused on different strategies for the postseason so it’s pretty unlikely it will happen again, but anything is possible.”

Did getting the Athlete of the Week award help motivate you to become even better? Wyatt stated,“I wouldn’t say getting athlete of the week helped my drive in swim, I had set a goal to give this season everything I had and receiving that award was kind of a moment of realization that my hard work this season was really paying off.”

What kind of work have you put in? Wyatt explained how he started off by taking 0 period and even went an hour early in order to learn good technique. “I went early in order to teach myself how to dive and practice my flipturns. This year, I have gone to early swim many times for extra practice, worked with my coaches outside of practice, watched film and mentally worked through each of my races. I’ve also been fighting injuries this season, with my rib slipping out of place almost daily, multiple illnesses, and cut my toe wide open and trying to practice with the wound which continues to open up.”

I asked if Wyatt recommended swim to anyone, and what makes it worth it. 

Wyatt said he’d recommend it to anyone without a doubt, “I’d recommend swim to anyone at this school. For me, I met some of my closest friends and think of swim as the best part of my four years at Auburn. Many say swim is or was the hardest thing they’ve ever done but at the end of the season, the feeling of pride and sense of completion is one of the best I have ever experienced. Swim is so unique because it is one of the few team sports that is also an individual sport. You can work together with your team, each person is pushing the other person to the best of their availability, and after it’s all up to you. You dive in, swim in the race that you’ve practiced so many times, then you see the time you got and you and you immediately see the results of the hard work you have put in all season”. 

I asked Wyatt if he’d qualify, his response was quite emotional, “Will I qualify… that question has kept me up at night. I’ve had dreams about the race and some end in cheers, smiles, and the warm feeling of contentment and victory. Other though, I wake up in a cold sweat, feeling bitter and angry as I swam my hardest but came up just short yet again. To qualify, I have to swim a down and back (50 yards) in 24.86 seconds. At the moment, my PR is 25.48. I am 0.62 seconds away from reaching my goal. In the time it takes you to say “PR”, that is the amount of time that I need to improve. A very little margin for error.”

Finally, I asked if he would pursue swim after highschool. He said “I will not pursue swim after highschool, there is no swim team at the University of Montana and I have other areas of focus I look forward to.” 

Wyatts dedication in order to get better has been a struggle but it has definitely paid off, he’s had a lot of fun while working the fruits of his labor and has grown as a person fighting through injuries and battling through the season. In two seasons, he has emerged as one of the best swimmers of the team.