Capital's Taylor at home in the water, and it shows

THE NATURAL: Curiosity as a freshman eventually blossoms in a solid high school career that lasts 4 seasons with Cougars

March 13, 2011 

  • THE OLYMPIAN'S ALL-AREA SWIMMING TEAM

    Alex Jones, Olympia, senior: 10th at 4A district in the 500 freestyle, team captain, team MVP.

    Nyle Taylor, Capital, senior: 12th at 3A state in 200 freestyle, ninth in the 100 freestyle, swam a leg on two relays that placed at state.

    Jacob Williams, Capital, senior: sixth at 3A state in the 100 freestyle, swam a leg on two relays that placed at state.

    Hayden Oliver, Timberline, sophomore: 22nd at 3A state in 100 butterfly.

    Erik Solveson, North Thurston, junior: 10th at 2A state in the 200 individual medley, eighth in the 100 backstroke, swam legs on two relays that placed at state.

    Cameron Peterson, North Thurston, junior: seventh at 2A state in the 100 butterfly, swam a leg on 400 freestyle relay that placed at state.

    Michael Evans, River Ridge, junior: fourth in 2A state diving.

    Scott Harn, North Thurston, sophomore: 15th at 2A state 100 breaststroke.

    RELAY TEAMS

    Shelton, 200 freestyle: 15th at 4A state – Andrew Grant, Ricky Rutledge, John Ramsey, Indi Endicott.

    Capital, 200 freestyle: 10th at 3A state – Taylor, Jack Swanson, Alec Temple, Jacob Williams

    Capital, 400 freestyle: 14th at 3A state – Taylor, TaiSheng Yeager, Swanson, Williams

    Timberline, 200 medley: 19th at 3A state – Peter Emmons, Nathan Knox, Oliver, Eric Smith.

    North Thurston, 200 freestyle: ninth at 2A state – Harn, Matthew Brickey, Brady Neeley, Tyler Ridgeway.

    North Thurston, 400 freestyle: fifth at 2A state – Ridgeway, Neeley, Solveson, Peterson.

    North Thurston, 200 medley: sixth at 2A state – Solveson, Harn, Peterson, Ridgeway.

    River Ridge, 200 freestyle: 12th at 2A state – Durias Thomas, Christian Dilworth, Danny Hayes, Justice Dutton.

    River Ridge, 200 medley: 14th at 2A state – Danny Hayes, Dutton, Dilworth, Thomas

    Gail Wood, staff writer

For once, Nyle Taylor was clueless.

He had no idea what he was getting himself into when he jumped into the pool and swam laps at his first turnout for the Capital High School swim team his freshman year.

“I just wanted to see how I’d do,” said Taylor, now a senior. “I swam a little when I was younger.”

He couldn’t have known swimming was a perfect fit. Always up for a challenge, Taylor embraced swimming for the next four years. He joined the Evergreen Swim Club after his freshman year, swimming 11 months out of the year, then gave up tennis after his sophomore year.

He cashed in on all the hard work recently at the Class 3A state meet, where he placed ninth in the 100-yard freestyle, 12th in the 200 freestyle and swam legs on two relays that also placed. Those efforts helped make him The Olympian’s all-area boys swimmer of the year.

“Nyle’s work ethic is incredible,” Capital coach Dean Sawhill said. “He’s intense every single day and plows out the yardage.”

Taylor’s penchant for hard work and attention to detail served him well in helping lower his times. During the season, workouts with his club and school teams overlapped, and he would swim twice a day. He was in the pool at 6 a.m. for an hour workout and again at 3 p.m. for a two-hour session.

At state, he swam a lifetime best of 48.74 seconds in the 100 freestyle. He swam the 200 freestyle in 1:47.19.

“I don’t have to coach Nyle much,” Sawhill said. “He’s an athlete that knows himself. He knows exactly what’s wrong when something is wrong, and he’ll correct it.”

Taylor’s attraction to swimming is threefold.

“Swimming keeps me in great condition and I love racing,” Taylor said. “You also develop close bonds with friends. You swim together so much.”

Whether in the classroom or in athletics, the Capital senior has always liked pushing himself.

Naturally curious – “My mom says I was always asking questions as a kid,” he said. – Taylor has always been a good student, as evidenced by his 4.0 grade-point average. The Cougars’ boys swim team also won the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s 3A winter scholastic award for having the highest GPA in the state at 3.75.

“Studying has come pretty easy,” he said. “I’ve always liked to read.”

Taylor has narrowed his college choices for next year to William & Mary, the University of San Diego, the University of Washington, Cornell or Santa Clara.

Where he enrolls will determine if he continues swimming. If he doesn’t swim on a school team, he says he’ll play club water polo.

“Swimming is a way of staying in shape,” Taylor said.

He’s thinking about majoring in environmental studies so he can one day help the family business, Taylor Shellfish.

It might require some scuba diving, but he has that covered. He has his scuba diving card and already has dived in the Great Blue Hole – an underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize.

“I just love being in the water,” Taylor said.

Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 gwood@theolympian.com theolympian.com/sports/blog

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