Somewhere between the ripples on the water and the boyish grin lies a kid who is at peace with himself. He likes where he is and where he is going.
For the better part of two years, Daniel Gudgin has been a swimmer-in-training at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center. Doing the teaching, the coaching, the goal setting and the encouraging are the adults in the building and on the deck.
Those coaches are Kristen Moore and William Yin. They instruct. They organize, and they mold young swimmers like Gudgin. Moore and Yin coach for the Troup County Sharks, the team that Gudgin loves to swim for.
This is a developmental process, and Gudgin, the fourth-grader from Callaway Elementary School, is ahead of pace. And Gudgin is giving the stopwatch a good workout no fewer than four days a week.
“Daniel doesn’t play around. He wants to swim fast. He practices more than the average nine year old. He is good and consistent,” said Yin. Gudgin is there to improve. He is out there to race. Winning is starting to get in his blood.
“I made it to the GRPA State (meet last year). I got some ribbons and medals. I’m stroking. I’m doing flip turns. I’m getting better. I’m keeping my head down and my feet together,” said Gudgin.
It is making a difference. The son of Lee and Christine Gudgin is on the fast track to swimming stardom. That is a swimming fact, every second down the pool and back again.
In the past year, Daniel Gudgin has cut 15 seconds off his 50-yard freestyle time. He has been clocked at 35.58 seconds. In the 100 freestyle, Gudgin has trimmed 29 seconds off his time. He has a new personal best of 1:19.
And in the 100-yard backstroke, Gudgin has sliced 48 seconds off his time with a new personal best of 1:38.23. He also has a speedy mark of 2:52.12 in the 200-yard freestyle.
“Swimming takes a ton of dedication. There is a lot of splashing going on. This takes a lot of practice time and speed,” said Gudgin, who wants to get better every day of the week.
His mother, Christine Gudgin, thinks he is on the move. His mom attends every Sharks practice and all of the swimming meets. Christine Gudgin is an aquatic cheerleader for her son, the rapidly improving swimmer.
“I have seen dramatic improvement (in Daniel). The coaching is excellent, and they have good techniques. Daniel loves sports and competition. When he hit the water, he found a home,” said Christine Gudgin.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.