SPS Swimmers Look to Olympians for Inspiration

After four years, the Olympic games returned and recently closed with both accomplishments and controversy. With such great success in American swimming, interest has sparked about the SPS swimming team, and new Head Coach Emmett Smith.

“I felt America did very good in their swimming, and it inspired me to see one of the younger athletes beat Michael Phelps,” SPS swimmer Myers Morgan said.

Phelps completes his final race, the men's 4x100 medley relay, with a gold medal. (photo by: Washington Post)

Phelps completes his final race, the men’s 4×100 medley relay, with a gold medal. (photo by: Washington Post)

At the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, American swimmers had huge success in their races. In fact, USA’s Michael Phelps has gained 23 golds in his races throughout his career. Michael Phelps, however, isn’t the only one having Olympic success.

SPS alumnus Kris Babylon prepares to coach the swim team at a meet last year. (Photo by: Kyle Hladky)

SPS alumnus Kris Babylon prepares to coach the swim team at a meet during the 2015 season. (Photo by: Kyle Hladky)

St. Paul’s previous swimming coach, Chris Babylon, has taught a number of swimmers that have made it to the Olympic Trials. He has been coaching swimmers inside and outside of SPS to achieve success. Babylon also won second in the World Competition himself, and is one of the most decorated swimmers in Louisiana history. Most recently, Babylon has translated his success into coaching the SPS swim team.

Last year, with the help of Babylon and the varsity swimmers, the SPS swim team earned third place in the state competition. Albeit, with all of the seniors from last year and their coach gone, the swim team may have a tougher time competing with their rivals this year. With the help of their new coach, Emmett Smith, the team will try to build upon their success.

“I think he’s an experienced guy and very welcoming to the new athletes,” SPS swimmer Tonner Dougherty said. 

The inspiration of Michael Phelps has spread far and wide throughout the nation, including members of the SPS swim team. It is very common among adolescent swimmers to idolize Olympic athletes, and with Michael Phelps winning so many medals, it’s no wonder the SPS team looks up to him. Although Phelps has had some bumps in the road with drugs and alcohol, the swimmers still respect him.

“I respect (Phelps), but I would respect him more if he didn’t get into trouble,” SPS swimmer Tonner Doherty said.

Fueled by the excitement of the recent Olympic games, the team has recently started practicing for upcoming swimming events in the fall. Like Michael Phelps, the team will work hard to earn what they are striving for in the upcoming swim season.

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