Stanwood’s Sam Grant will be competing in multiple freestyle events at the upcoming Washington Interscholastic Activities Association 3A state championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Stanwood’s Sam Grant will be competing in multiple freestyle events at the upcoming Washington Interscholastic Activities Association 3A state championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Five things to know about Stanwood swimmer Sam Grant

The senior will compete at the WIAA 3A state championships this weekend.

Sam Grant has improved tremendously during his four years on the Stanwood boys swimming and diving team.

The senior will compete at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association 3A state championships, to be held Friday and Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. He’ll swim the 50-yard freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay events.

“When he started with us as a freshman, he was an average rookie swimmer. I didn’t think at the time that he’d be anywhere near where he is today,” Spartans coach Connie Schmidt said. “The way he skims along the top of the water is fun to watch. He’s got a long, powerful stroke.”

Here are five things to know about Grant:

1. He had virtually no swimming experience when he turned out for the team as a freshman. “I actually tried out for the basketball team freshman year and got cut,” Grant said. “I was a little disappointed, but my buddy Cole Barrie convinced me to join the swim team, and that was the best decision of my life. But when I first started, I had no clue how to swim. Connie and (assistant coach) Brad (Hering) have helped me out a lot.”

2. He prefers the shorter races. While he’s adept at just about every stroke, there’s no doubt Grant is first and foremost a freestyler. “When I’m on the blocks, I look over to the side and see (teammates) clapping and cheering, and I build on that, get hyped up,” he said. “Other guys can take that hype and spread it out over a longer race, but I like to channel it, push it until it’s gone and drain the tank. I love to leave it all out there in the pool.”

3. He’s gaining experience in public speaking. “I’ve had the chance to talk in front of large groups (as part of) classroom presentations,” said Grant, a Running Start student who’s taken classes at Skagit Valley College the past two years. “Every single chance I get to speak at an assembly about the swim team, I take it. It was nerve-wracking at first, but I’m finding my own voice. I could definitely see myself pursing a career in public speaking.”

4. He’s developed an interest in nutrition. “I took a nutrition class (at Skagit Valley College) last year, and it opened up my eyes,” said Grant, who will attend Washington State University after graduating from Stanwood. “Last summer I did some research about nutrition and eating, and made some major changes to my diet. My times haven’t changed, but my life is so much better. I wake up more energized after the same amount of sleep. Practice feels better. I could end up going for a degree in nutrition. I could be a nutritionist for athletes or a personal trainer.”

5. He’s a lifeguard and occasional swim instructor at the Stanwood YMCA. He’s been there ever since it opened in September 2016. “My knowledge of swimming has increased a lot (from working there),” he said. “Swimming is more of my life than it was (as freshman and sophomore). (Hering) works there as well, so I talk to him every day, and watching him swim has been really helpful.”

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