Blood racing through their veins. Heads pounding in anticipation. Their eyes fixated on their teammates. All four have the same thought swimming through his mind: This is it.
To their left, thirty of their favorite people are trembling. Their pounding adrenaline convinces all fifty Cougars that they are the ones about to get up on the block and swim the race of their high school career.
These four boys have spent half of their lives in the pool. Legarth and other competitive swimmers spend nearly 25 hours practicing weekly. Weekly. Not monthly, not annually. Weekly. To keep up with what he puts his body through, Legarth eats. A lot. “I get out of morning practice, and I eat. Then I go to school and I eat more. Then I don’t stop eating through work, then I eat after swim practice. Then I eat dinner. I always have extra food someplace”, proudly admits Legarth.
Along with their massive appetites and affinity for Bojangles’ Bo Berry Biscuits, the Apex boys are famous for their pre-relay “charge up”. I was confused too, but Legarth revealed that the “charge up” is when the relay swimmers all cross their arms together and “for 5 seconds scream at the top of [their] lungs.”
Not everyone loves the “charge-up”, and our Cougar Boys became somewhat notorious for this tradition within the high school swimming world last year.
“Before the 200 medley relay [in my] junior year, we were charging-up but we were doing it when they got the last heat on the block”, explains Legarth. “Right as they said “take your mark” we “charged up” and they had to pause the meet for a few minutes. The official came over and yelled at us and said that if we did it again we would get kicked out of the meet.”
The tradition continues, but the boys are more cautious about their timing.
They’ve completed charging up. For 7 years too long the Falcons have taken the championship. The Cougars are hungering for this.
Ten minutes later the pool deck is a scene of marvelous chaos. The men and women Cougars have taken the 2016 SWAC Swim Championship, and the celebration has begun.
“We were warming down while the scores updated so it was basically four guys screaming in the pool… it was quite a sight,” laughed Legarth.
Congrats to both men and women swim teams! Bo Berry Biscuits and 4 am practices make some pretty incredible athletes.