Prep Swimming: Danville's Chappie Couzens has enjoyed his long ride with the Admirals swim team and is looking forward to ending the season on strong note
Danville¿s Chappie Couzens swims to a win in the 200-yard individual medley Wednesday in a dual meet with Boyle County. Couzens also won the 100 backstroke and was part of the winning 400 freestyle relay in his final home meet for the Admirals. (Clay Jackson / January 31, 2013)
The only senior on the Danville swim team took a moment following the meet Wednesday at Boles Natatorium to address his teammates, telling them how much he appreciated what they did for him, from cheering him on to hanging the customary congratulatory banner on the wall.
His remarks took only a few seconds, but he made it clear in that time that senior night was something special to him.
“There are a couple moments throughout your senior year where it hits you, ‘I’m a senior and I’m going to be gone,’ and when I saw them hang up the banner there, I was just telling them thanks because that meant a lot to me,” Couzens said.
Couzens was one of the top scorers in the dual meet between Danville and Boyle County, winning the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley and helping his team win the 400 freestyle relay.
And while he still has a great deal of swimming ahead in his senior season, particularly over the next six weeks, he realizes that Wednesday’s meet means he is turning a page.
“In a way, it’s like I’m putting all this behind me, but at the same time, it’s been such a big part of my life that it’s hard to think about letting it go,” he said.
Couzens has swam on both the high school and club levels for the past five years, and he said he enjoys doing both. He said some swimmers at his level might swim for their high school teams for a year or two before giving it up to focus on club swimming, saying it requires too much time or there is too little competition.
“That’s fine, but I’ve always really enjoyed the high school atmosphere,” he said. “It’s not about the time; it’s a whole lot more about beating the guy next to you, and in a lot of instances it’s more of a team sport than club swimming is.”
He also said it means something to him to swim for his school
“This is as close-knit a team as my club team is, and representing my high school in the same way that my buddies who play soccer, my buddies who play football, my buddies that play basketball or golf or anything, it’s just good to be able to wear the name,” Couzens said.
Couzens will likely swim under the Danville banner in two more meets, the regional and state meets next month, and he said he’s really looking forward to the regional.
“It might be the most fun meet that I get to compete in every year,” he said.
As a junior, Couzens finished 19th in the state in the 100 breaststroke and 21st in the 200 individual medley and set a school record in the breaststroke in the regional meet. He said he expects to qualify for state once again in the breaststroke, and hopes to do so in the IM as well.
The regional and state meets are immediately followed by some of the biggest club meets of the season, making for a busy month.
“From mid-February to mid-March, it’s full-out boogie for four weeks,” he said.
Couzens said for years he thought he wanted to swim in college, but he is now going down a different path. He has applied for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he said he could swim as a walk-on, and he is waiting to hear whether he’ll be accepted.
He said an interest in cars, sailing and airplanes has led him to want to become a fighter pilot, and a visit to the Naval Academy left an impression on him.
“There was something about it that was just really appealing to me. I’ve always sort of been interested in doing something military, and having the opportunity — I know it’s cliche, but to serve the country,” he said. “I’d like become a fighter pilot and I think I would enjoy the road to get there and enjoy the ride while it lasted.”