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Shaler grad Porter makes adjustment at Clarion

| Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, 12:12 p.m.
Shaler grad Nathan Porter is a swimmer at Clarion.
Clarion athletics
Shaler grad Nathan Porter is a swimmer at Clarion.
Shaler grad Nathan Porter is a swimmer at Clarion.
Clarion athletics
Shaler grad Nathan Porter is a swimmer at Clarion.

Scoring a surprising result in the pool makes stumbling out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and heading to the Clarion University pool easier for Nathan Porter.

Porter, a sophomore swimmer for the Golden Eagles, has to head in early for distance practice after entering college as a specialist in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

Making a move to the 500 and 1,000 started as a freshman.

Last season against IUP, Clarion's coaches told Porter, he had to win the 1,000 free for them to have a chance to win. Porter entered the race as an underdog to the Crimson Hawks' Alex Plimpton.

“The person I was racing was four seconds faster than me,” said Porter, a Shaler graduate. “I ended up beating him by 14 seconds. After that I found more confidence.”

While the Golden Eagles ended up losing the meet, it was an important step for Porter. The win showed he could handle a varied workload in the pool. Juggling several responsibilities is part of his day-to-day schedule.

Porter is also a community assistant in his dorm. Tuesdays and Thursdays, he swims from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., followed by class from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. After that, Porter has another practice, followed by working from 7 p.m. to midnight.

“It's definitely a lot of time management,” Porter said.

All of his work has Porter headed in the right direction. In the Golden Eagles' 120-81 loss to Bloomsburg Nov. 12, he picked up three wins.

Porter won the 200 and 500 free, along with being a member of the winning 200 free relay team for Clarion (3-2).

“He's a team player,” Golden Eagles coach Mark Van Dyke said. “He'll do whatever we ask him to do, either sprint or distance events. He has a great work ethic and is a great student.”

Porter, who is majoring in accounting, was a member of a 1,600 free relay team that placed sixth at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships last season.

Van Dyke feels comfortable moving Porter around.

“With him, it's his consistency,” Van Dyke said. “When we put him at the 500, he continued breaking the same splits every time. We figured that was something he could stretch to the 1,000.”

Porter's major goal for the rest of the season is to get a good enough time to make the ‘B' cut for a chance to qualify for nationals.

Continuing to improve certainly makes early-morning walks easier.

“Getting out of the bed is the hardest part,” Porter said. “Once I'm there, it's not a big deal. I don't like the quarter or half-mile walks in the snow.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

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