BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
WhateverElkLakeswim coach Ed Murach throws senior Adam Phillips’ way, he’s ready.
Whether it’s swimming in the breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly or freestyle, Phillips has it covered.
“I’m an IM’er,” Phillips said. “So coach can pretty much put me in any race.”
And not only is he trained for any kind of race, Phillips rises to any challenge, and excels each time he hits the water.
On the season, Phillips, 18, of Springville, is undefeated and looks to go into the District II Class AA championships on Friday, Mar. 2, and improve upon gold medal winning time in the 100 breaststroke and silver medal time in the 200 IM.
He is also eyeing a top three finish in the state the following weekend at the PIAA Class AA championships, where last year Phillips took home a pair of seventh place medals.
At Elk Lake, Phillips holds seven individual school records in the 200 freestyle (1:51.29), 200 IM (1:59.26), 50 free (:22.27), 100 fly (:55.03), 100 free (:49.07), 100 backstroke (1:00.06) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.66) and is part of record setting teams in the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay.
Phillips’ success comes in part from his experience in the pool, having started at age 6 for the Tunkhannock Tigersharks, and partly from his commitment to pushing himself.
“I put in at least two hours a day in the pool,” Phillips said. “And I also lift weights for about an hour each day.”
He also has family support from his dad, Jim Phillips, who is the diving coach atElkLake.
“My dad has been a coach since I started swimming, and he’s been a big influence,” Phillips said.
While Jim isn’t Adam’s coach at practices, he can be heard cheering his son on from the sidelines, and Adam said that even on car rides home and at the dinner table, swimming is often a topic of conversation.
“We talk a lot about swimming,” Phillips said. “He tells me things he thinks I should work on. It’s nice to have that, because I never really get away from swimming. It’s always on my mind.”
And even when teammates are cheering him on during races, for some reason his father’s voice is the only one he hears.
“All my teammates voices kind of muffle together during the races,” Phillips said. “But for some reason I can still hear my dad.”
Leading up to Districts Phillips said he will be putting in extra time at the pool, trying to get in the best possible shape for his championship races.
And if Phillips should make another run at states this year, he feels he will be more confident and have a leg up on some of the competition.
“I think my experience having been there the last two years will help me a lot,” Phillips said. “Even last year I was nervous being in the finals the first time, but having been there before, I think I will be more comfortable this time.”
After the season is over, Phillips will concentrate on deciding what he’d like to do with his future, both academically and athletically.
Currently, Phillips said he has interest from NCAA Division I Rider University inNew Jersey, but hasn’t made a firm commitment to any college yet.