Phillips chasing his swimming dream

Elk Lake junior swimmer Adam Phillips is undefeated so far this season. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/BUTCH COMEGYS

BY JOBY FAWCETT

Times-Shamrock Writer

Adam Phillips is a swimmer on a mission.

His junior season is hitting the midway point, and a year’s worth of hard work is paying off for the returning All-Region performer.

After a trip to the PIAA championships as a sophomore, Phillips focused himself on earning a return trip this winter. So far, the Elk Lake Warrior is undefeated in the Wyoming Valley Conference in his individual events and is bringing his times down as he prepares for the District 2 Class AA championships in early March.

“I learned a lot at the state meet,” said Phillips, who placed 24th in the 100-yard breaststroke, his favorite event. “I learned that I had to perfect my strokes. Once I saw everyone down at states, it was an awakening. I learned that I should be putting forth a lot more effort at practices and that I could push myself more.

“I’ve just been striving to do better. I would like to place better at states.”

When he was 7 years old, Phillips began taking swimming lessons with the Tunkhannock Tiger Sharks.

Since then, he has gotten faster and faster, knifing through the water in record-setting times during his brief 2½-year varsity career. Phillips owns school records in the 200 individual medley, the 50 freestyle, the 100 butterfly, the 100 freestyle, the 100 backstroke and the 100 breast, and he is closing in on the marks in the 200 free and the 500 free.

This season, he has posted a time of 1 minute, 3.9 seconds in the breaststroke, just off his state time of 1:03.08. Last year, Tyler Gross finished 16th overall with a time of 1:01.74 in the consolation final at Bucknell University.

“He’s doing really well this season,” Elk Lake coach Ed Murach said. “Last year, he set his sights on reaching states and he was able to do that. He came into the season looking to make it back and get to that evening session in the consolations or finals. He really pushes himself at practice. He’s really got to rely on himself to push to get better.

“It takes a lot of discipline to do that. He is at a higher level and it would be easier to be content to be where he is now. He doesn’t fall into that trap.”

While putting in a lot of time in the pool with Murach and his father, assistant coach Jim Phillips, watching his workouts closely, Phillips has maintained a strong work ethic in school, as well.

A strong student, he is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society.

In addition, he is also a member of the golf team and the baseball team.

But nothing is taking his mind away from his swimming goals.

Someday, Phillips is hoping to swim in college.

And his efforts seem to indicate that he is headed in that direction.

“I think we are in good shape,” Murach said. “His breaststroke time is close to his best time. We had some really good drops heading into the championships last year, so if he can do that again, we will be doing well. He has bettered his school record in the 100 fly.

“We are happy. There is some improvement happening in his meets. He’s very talented.”

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