High school swimming: Wright finds comfort with Redskins
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year at this time Hurricane High swimmer Jack Wright was still the new kid on the block and in the pool.
His family had moved to the area from Pueblo, Colo., when his father took a job with WSAZ-TV in Huntington.
Wright came from a state where every high school has a pool and swim team to West Virginia, where the sport is in its infancy on the prep level and only Brooke High School has its own pool.
That's quite a change for Wright, who Thursday afternoon competed in the HYCAT Holiday High School Swim Meet at the University of Charleston.
In Colorado, he had been a strong swimmer locally but said he was "just average" in statewide competition.
It took some time for his paperwork and transcripts to arrive after the move, so Wright got a late start last season. But he found instant success.
He won the 100 butterfly and anchored the Redskins' champion 200 medley relay team at the 2012 state meet in Morgantown where he led Hurricane to a fourth place finish.
Thursday, he was favored in the maximum two individual and two relay events.
"He's doing fine," Hurricane Coach Kathi Shurow said. "We do a lot more distance swimming here, but you have to have something to complain about."
Actually, Wright seldom complains and is comfortable midway through his senior year.
"(The season) is going pretty well," he said. "The team is working hard."
Individually he does not see himself as being in peak form yet.
"I haven't been working as hard as I should to do what I did last year," Wright said. "But I'm still pleased."
The adjustment to life in West Virginia seems to be complete.
"I'm enjoying it a lot now," Wright said. "It's pretty laid back."
Which fits him perfectly as Wright is definitely not a win-at-all-cost type of competitor.
"It's not always about winning," he said. "Sometimes it's about feeling good about yourself and leaving it all in the water."
Wright did not compete last summer as he chose instead to work at South Hills Pool.
"I didn't do much swimming," he said. "I had to earn some money."
His college plans are already set.
"I've been accepted into the (West Virginia University) Engineering school," Wright said. "I don't think I will swim there."
He plans to go into civil engineering. But first there is a swim season to complete along with the rest of his senior year.
Wright was the favorite in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly and part of favored relay teams in the 200 freestyle and 200 medley Thursday.
The state meet is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 at WVU.
"We should start kicking it in towards the end of January," Wright said.
Almost every team at Thursday's event at UC was missing swimmers because of the holidays.
In all there were 12 schools entered with a total of 122 girls and 97 boys taking part in 22 events.