During the short, successful history of Hough Highs swim program, Jack Manchester has been a constant.The senior has placed at states every time hes worn his Huskies cap. With regionals and states in the horizon, he has high goals to close out his Hough career before heading to Harvard.Despite helping the schools 400-yard freestyle relay team to a 4A state championship last year, Manchester admits that he was a bit disappointed with his runner-up performance in the 500 free and his third-place finish in the 200 free.It left a bitter taste in my mouth, he said. Im definitely ready to get to states and take home some individual titles.Manchester placed fifth in the 200 free and third in the 500 free during the Huskies inaugural season as a sophomore.The 17-year-old started swimming when he was 5 but didnt start taking it seriously until he was 12.I just fell in love with the sport, Manchester said. I played other sports baseball and a little bit of football but there was just something about swimming, so I kept swimming, and Im really happy about that.Seeing his potential in the pool pushed him to work even harder.You start realizing that there are things you can do with this sport that are amazing, said Manchester.He explained that he enjoys the hard work required to succeed in swimming. He practices about 20 hours a week before and after school as well as on weekends with his SwimMAC Carolina team on top of his high school meets.Manchester doesnt mind putting in the hours, explaining he likes the atmosphere hes developed with his teammates both at Hough and at SwimMAC.Manchester, who stands out in the butterfly and the backstroke, has seen his work pay off, placing at the 2012 USA Swimming Short Course Junior Nationals last month.He placed fourth in the 200 back and sixth in the 200 free at the event, marking the first time he placed among the top-eight finishers at a national competition. Manchester also helped set several age-group records with SwimMACs relay teams.Earning a chance to swim at Harvard has also been an exciting byproduct of that work.Hough swim coach Tim Queen said that Manchesters devotion to swimming has been key to his success.He has a dedication, a desire to be the best, he said.Queen added that Manchester, a team captain, helps the Huskies with his experience and unselfishness.Hes the ultimate team player, said Queen. Hell do anything we ask him to do.Manchester hopes the Hough boys will be able to improve on last years state runner-up finish and match the girls state championship from last season.Even with teams like South Mecklenburg and Providence standing in the way, Manchester thinks that with the help of teammates Patrick Cowley and Andrew Botelho, as well as up-and-comers like Brian Davis, Evan Heldman, Jeffrey Manchester and John Matysek, the Huskies could be in a good position.If we really work at it, and go into states with the right mindset put in 100 percent effort we have a good chance to win the meet, he said.Houghs girls, behind returning 100-yard freestyle champion Emily Allen, could also challenge to repeat as regional and state champions. The 4A West regional will be held at Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics on Feb. 2. The 4A state meet is scheduled for Feb. 7 at Carys Triangle Aquatic Center.Manchester strained a disc in his back a few weeks ago, but as he trained last week, he said he already felt much better.I should be ready, he said.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
Senior swimmer Jack Manchester hopes to close Hough career atop the podium
Manchester has placed at states every year hes competed for Hough
Hough's Jack Manchester has high hopes going into his final regional and state meets. The senior will swim at Harvard next year. SERGIO TOVAR - email@example.com