Athlete of the week: Swimmer continues his siblings' success

02/09/2011 12:00 AM

02/08/2011 11:59 AM

When Collin Higgins dives into the pool, he knows he has a lot to live up to.

The Charlotte Latin senior swimmer has been busy catching up to his brother, Charlie, and sister, Caroline, for most of his life.

All three Higgins siblings have starred at Latin, and next year Charlie, Caroline and Collin will reunite at Virginia Tech.

"I've definitely always looked up to my brother and sister and what they did in the pool," said Collin, who committed to the Hokies in January. "But we all are a little different. We all want to make our own mark and name, but still live up to what my brother and sister have done."

Collin Higgins, 17, may be making the biggest splash of all three Higginses at the high school and club level at this point in his career.

Collin, a three-time Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association conference champion and state champion in the backstroke and a two-time conference and state champion in 200-yard Individual Medley, also has been one of the top backstrokers in the country in his age group since he was 14 and swimming with SwimMAC.

He is also a star in the classroom, as he made the latest headmaster's list at Latin and plans to major in engineering at Virginia Tech.

"Ever since I started swimming, I have always loved the backstroke," said Higgins, who admitted he liked it at first because you got to breathe the whole time. The backstroke "has always felt very natural and I've always felt fast in it."

Collin Higgins holds the Latin school record for the 100-yard backstroke, earning All-American status his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, in addition to posting top-10 times nationwide for SwimMAC.

While the Higginses do a lot of their damage on top of the water, SwimMAC and Latin swimming coach Patty Waldron, who has coached all three siblings, says the secret to their success is underwater.

"All three are underwater (kicking) dynamos, faster than just about anyone there," said Waldron, who has been at Charlotte Latin for three seasons and SwimMAC for 28 years. "I think for Collin, it has really taken their swimming to the next level."

Higgins hasn't lost an individual race at Latin in the last three seasons and is dominating again as a senior. He is a heavy favorite to repeat in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM in the CISAA and state meets later this month.

But while Higgins wants to finish on top individually, he is also focused on winning as a team.

Charlotte Latin will try to defend the CISAA conference title Thursday at home before traveling to the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary to compete for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship.

"We have been close the last three years but haven't put it all together at states," Higgins said. "I definitely want to win the state championship this year and finish on top."

After that, Higgins will prepare for his career at Virginia Tech next year. Caroline will be a sophomore and Charlie will be a senior.

"Swimming for the Higginses has always been about family," said Waldron. "To have three Division I swimmers at the same time in one family doesn't happen very often. That says a lot about all three kids, who are low-key and just let their swimming (success) speak for them."

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