From Staff Reports
The Americus Times-Recorder
It's 5:30 in the morning on a Friday, but that doesn't stop Americus-Sumter High School sophomore David Murphy from diving in to the water at the GSW University Deriso Pool for a one-and-a-half hour workout that will cover almost three miles. The top ranked swimmer on the Panther squad, Murphy has already set two team records this season and has his sights on two more. In December, David set new high school marks in the 500 yard freestyle and 100 yard breaststroke. “I think David has got a good shot at erasing two more records before he's done this season,” said Panther community coach Tim DeMott. “It's exciting because two of the records he's chasing are owned by Chris Achey, who was a Trials qualifier in 2000.” Coach DeMott is referring to the U.S. Olympic Trials. Americus-Sumter alumni Chris Achey finished his high school career with the top ranked 50 yard freestyle in the nation among 17 year-olds, and was a participant in the 2000 Olympic selection meet.
Murphy began his swimming career when he joined the Blue Tide swim team as an eight year old. He has enjoyed some level of success throughout his career, qualifying for the Georgia State Championships every year since age 10. However, it wasn't until age fourteen that he became serious, according to coach DeMott. “I think as David matured, he began to see his potential and at one point, about a year ago, we had a conversation about what it would take to compete at the elite level and almost the next day I saw a difference in his attitude and level of work.” Coach DeMott said Murphy soon began attending every training session and within six months he had fought his way up the rankings to become the 34th ranked 50 meter freestyler in the U.S. among 14 year olds.
That taste of success has only made Murphy hungry for more. But make no mistake, his progress has not come easily. The Blue Tide group that David trains with routinely covers 5,000 yards in a two hour workout, and trains at least six workouts per week. “Training for swimming takes a lot of mental discipline in order to push yourself to the absolute limit. The sport uses virtually every muscle in your body, and practices can be exhausting. But I really enjoy the challenge; I enjoy the struggle of trying to do more than my competition,” said Murphy.
The Panther swim season includes four more competitions, and ends on February 8 & 9 with the High School State Championships in Atlanta.