An All-American swimmer is walking the halls at Silver Lake.
KINGSTON – Alexa, play a repeat of last winter when you won two swimming state championships.
Done and done, again.
Staying on top of the mountain can be as hard as the climb to get there but Silver Lake senior Alexa Connors found a way to do it recently when she won state swimming titles in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races for the second year in a row.
“It really hasn’t hit me in full yet,” the now four-time state champion said last week. “I think it started to sink in when I was standing on the medal podium that I had won the two state titles again and that this was also the last time that I would be representing my high school in a swimming competition.
“That was a lot to let sink in.”
She started her march to the repeat state swimming titles with two wins at the South Sectionals. Connors built a comfortable lead to win the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:50.31. Her closest competition was Cohasset’s Leigh Spicer (1:53.83). She came back later in the day to win the 500 free (4:51.24) by more than 10 seconds over the Cohasset duo of Emily Appleton and Spicer.
It was more of the same a week later at the Division 1 State Championships. Connors swam a 1:53.79 in the 200 and 4:53.64 in the 500, each time touching the wall in front of second-place finisher Ella Church from Bromfield School.
“I think winning the two races as a junior was more of a surprise to everyone,” said Connors. “This year I tried to relax and enjoy the competition.”
As with most competitive swimmers, Connors does most of her pool work away from the high school team. She’s trained with the Kingfish Swimming in Kingston since grade school.
“It’s tough to train with a club team and a high school squad at the same time but I wanted to do both,” Connors said. “I’m a captain on the high school swim team and I like the social aspect being with my friends from school.”
Working with Kingfish Swimming Head Coach Jay Craft has pushed Connors to be the elite swimmer she has become. Her personal best times both came during club swim events with a 1:49.75 in the 200 free and a 4:50:32 in the 500 free.
Connors’ 500 time automatically qualified her as a National High School All-American. She’s waiting to officially hear if she has qualified in the 200, as well.
“Jay Craft’s an awesome coach. He’s become like a second father to me,” Connors said. “We joke around a lot but he always has me ready to go when it’s time to compete.”
Connors trains with the Kingfish five or six day per week pretty much year-round except for some time off each April.
“I’ve been lucky to avoid the feeling of burnout with swimming. It can be a lot with school, swimming and life in general but I try to fit it all in as best I can,” Connors explained. “You’ve got to keep up on your sleep, manage your time well and staying positive makes everything easier.”
While her high school career is now in the record books, the 17-year-old Kingston resident will continue making waves in the pool for the next few years in Virginia on the swim team at Div. 1 Richmond University.
A National Honor Society student and an elite athlete, Connors heard from numerous Ivy League schools and Division 1 swimming programs during her college search. She said the recruitment process was very flattering. “It’s still amazing to me when I think about some of the colleges I heard from.”
In the end, Richmond University won Connors’ heart. She’ll major in Bio-Chemistry and minor in Spanish at the Virginia college and could swim the 200 and 500 freestyle or the 1,000-yard or mile race for the Spiders.
Connors explained, “I’m on the shorter side for a swimmer so I’m built more for the longer races.”
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