It’s said that the quiet ones are the ones you need to watch out for. They are the ones that come seemingly out of nowhere and can totally surprise you. Well if you spend a few moments with Dixie Flyer’s junior, Nathan Hook, and discover what he has accomplished thus far, you will be impressed.
Nathan is a member of the National Honor Society, MVP for his Varsity swim team as a freshman and sophomore, winner of multiple USA club swimming and high school swimming awards, a Reflection 3D Art winner and a Black Belt in Martial Arts. You wrap that and even more into who Nathan is as an individual and it is hard to believe the young man is shy. Yet, once you get him talking about what he loves doing, he really opens up.
Picking up swimming as a hobby when he was nine, Nathan didn’t begin his more serious pursuit of year-round swimming and competition until a few years later. “I mainly started swimming year-round to get out of the heat because it is so hot here during the summer.” Nathan admits.
The two strokes Nathan competes in are the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke while on his high school team. During club swim he swims each of the strokes. With every swimmer there comes a moment where you have to determine if you are a distance swimmer or if you are a sprinter. These two are vastly different yet determining where a swimmer truly fits is not as easily identified. Nathan learned what type of swimmer he was in the most exciting of settings.
“It always helps to swim the race in your head, even hours before you get into the water… it helps to calm you down and feel more prepared.”
During his freshman year, competing in the very last event of State Championships, Nathan and his fellow Flyers were preparing to swim the 400 Freestyle Relay. With smiles ear-to-ear Nathan recounts the efforts it would take to pull off their team goal. “We knew we were close to catching Park City and had a chance to win State but we would have to win the relay. I was the third swimmer and so I needed to make sure that we were caught up or in the lead so the fourth swimmer would have a shot. We were in third place when I went in and had to make up a full body length. So I swam really hard and we were in the lead by the time I was done. Our final swimmer finished it up and we won the relay and took state.”
Nathan is a sprinter, and this sprinter puts on a good mental game as well. He clearly understands that if he is going to compete at a high level he needs to remain focused and free from distractions. “It always helps to swim the race in your head, even hours before you get into the water. That way, you’ve already visualized it; you’ve gone through what your game plan is, it helps to calm you down and feel more prepared.”
There are a great many positive things about being involved in athletics. There is a sense of belonging to a team, working towards a common goal, and always striving to perform at your best in all that you do. For Nathan, working towards a black belt provided what the Hook family was looking for. “Nathan really enjoyed Martial Arts at Ace Karate and did that for a long time. What we looked for before we started was something that could keep him busy, active, and provide a sense of family.” John, Nathan’s father, continues, “When he finally decided to do something else we were really glad that he found the same thing in swimming. Swimming is such intensive training and the kids are always around each other, it takes a lot of parental support so it is a really positive family oriented environment. Their friends are there and they are all great kids. It’s been really positive.”
With a class schedule full of Honors, along with college concurrent enrollment courses, Nathan takes pride in being able to excel academically as well. “I know that I can do well in school. I took chemistry last year, which I liked, but my favorite subjects are math and art. I really like being able to create things and sometimes I really get into it.” Having entered into the 3D Art division of Reflections competition, Nathan submitted a 3D wire sculpture of a rhinoceros, and won the regional competition. Nathan’s art continued on to state and was selected to be on display all summer at a gallery in Salt Lake City, UT.
“I don’t know if we have a lot of new kids coming into swim this year but hopefully I can inspire them to work hard and do well.” You can call Nathan quiet or shy when you first meet him. But, get to know him and you realize it is a quiet confidence. The young man can compete, athletically and academically, and is poised to excel now and into the future. • HSSI