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Pitman grad Lesley Young gradually says farewell to swimming
Lesley Young
After a successful run at Pitman High, Lesley Young has made an impact at the University of Wyoming. This fall, she enters her senior season. - photo by Photo courtesy of the University of Wyoming athletics
Lesley Young began swimming competitively at age 6.When she was about 10, coaches noticed she had the potential to be one of the fastest swimmers every time she jumped into the pool.By the time she was 18, she was setting numerous records at Pitman High and had landed a scholarship with the University of Wyoming.But in about a year from now, she’ll be done with this sport.It’s nothing personal, Young said just last week, soon after she got done with a two-hour workout with the Turlock Marlins at the Pitman pool. Swimming is beginning to become monotonous to her, she said — all the early morning practices and all the hours spent working on perfecting a stroke have gotten to her. But before she says farewell to a sport that has been a big part of her life for the past 15 years or so, she’s taking the steps to make it memorable.She’s been back home in Turlock since May.“I came home to renew my thoughts on swimming and reenergize myself for my last year of competitive swimming,” Young said.One major thing she’s doing before her final season at Wyoming is competing at the California/Nevada Senior Sectionals in Santa Clarita on Thursday.At Pitman High, she set lofty standards for other swimmers, including her younger sister, Stephanie, who earned a scholarship with South Dakota State. Back then, Lesley Young was an All-American in the 100 breaststroke during her junior and senior campaigns, all while winning the Central California Conference titles in that event every year and setting league records in the 200 individual medley. Her accolades didn’t end there: During her senior season in 2008, she helped lead the Pride to a Nor-Cal Relay Championship, the Stanislaus County Championship and back-to-back league championships.It was all noticed by Tom Johnson, the Wyoming swim coach. And Young made an impact immediately, becoming a Mountain West Conference selection after setting school records at the conference championships.But before all that, she competed at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials, an experience Young called “eye-opening.” “I thought it was going to be a regular swim meet,” she said about an event that attracted thousands of spectators. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in my life.”Her college highlight came when she was a sophomore. She won the 100 breaststroke at the MWC Championships with a time of 1:01.42, which was both a school and conference record. And last year, she placed second in the 200 breaststroke in 2:14.80, less than a second from the winner.So what’s on tap for her senior run?“She has only one more opportunity to do it,” Johnson said. He’s speaking in general terms, implying that Young and the other senior swimmers have one more year to compete at this level of swimming. She’ll be one of the team captains, and Johnson hopes to guide her to the NCAA Championships, a difficult meet to reach.Young seems to be ready for it all.To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.