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Knoch home-schooled freshman swimmer showing mettle

| Saturday, March 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Knoch freshman swimmer John Wilson

Knoch freshman swimmer John Wilson is like your typical student-athlete. He does school work throughout the day, before going to swim practice at the Butler YMCA with his teammates. Unlike his teammates though, he doesn't have to deal with the time in between class periods, or the long days in class.

Wilson is home-schooled.

He wakes up at 8 a.m. and does his school work online before meeting his teammates on the bus to depart for practice. One of those teammates is his sister, Christamarie Wilson, someone who was a welcome sight when he began his freshman year.

“We would get on the swim bus a little early, and I would have someone there to talk to,” Wilson said about his sister. “She's been a good influence on me and she cheers for me and keeps me going. She helped me with where we needed to be and at what times.”

Success in swimming came easy to Wilson. He qualified for the PIAA Class AA swimming championships in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 Individual Medley. He posted a time of 1:01.94 in the 100 breaststroke to take fifth at the WPIAL meet at Pitt's Trees Pool.

He was seventh in the 200 IM with a mark of 2:04.17.

“I was very pleased,” Wilson said. “I was in the last heat, and the heat before me had two swimmers that were faster than me. I knew I was going to go because of math.”

Coming into the season, Wilson said he didn't expect to have this type of success this fast. But he remains humble.

Despite the level of competition taking some time to get used to, he didn't have extreme difficulty with it. He enjoys the competition and simply considers anybody who is a good competitor fun to compete against.

Fellow freshman swimmer Brooke Zukowski enjoys having him as a teammate and noticed his progression as the season went on.

“He definitely got a lot better,” Zukowski said. “He's a really hard worker, and he always gives his best effort.”

Wilson also swims competitively for the Butler YMCA swim team. He is in his fifth season and competes in the 100 IM, and the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

Swimming competitively seems to be a family hobby with John and his siblings. Along with his sister, he has three brothers who also swim.

Outside of swimming, Wilson enjoys the fitness world to complement his game.

“The Knoch swim team holds weight training at the Butler YMCA after swim practice,” he said. “I do that twice a week.”

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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