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 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/sports/blog