For now, John Earwood is concentrating on running.
The Augusta Prep sophomore, who is normally a year-round swimmer for the Aiken-Augusta Swim League, is taking a break from the pool.
“ASL starts in September but I’ve decided I’m just going to run until cross country season ends (at the Oct. 27 state meet) and then I’ll start swimming again,” he said.
In his second year with the Cavaliers he has become one of the team’s top runners and took first on the team (25th overall) with an 18:30 at the Eye Opener Meet in Spartanburg, S.C. on Sept. 1. The meet had 290 runners.
“John is a gem,” said cross country coach Tom Holodak. “He came along slowly last year. He got injured in eighth grade, actually in soccer. He was kind of hurt for most of the summer. He has the talent to be one of the top runners in GISA (Georgia Independent Schools Association) with his work ethic, and if we keep him injury free.”
Earwood said he wanted to be closer to 17 minutes than 18 at the meet, but took solace that he was leading the friendly competition – albeit not by much – to be the team’s lead runner.
Before school started he put various training techniques to use in a unique fashion.
“I do (sprint) triathlons over the summer,” said Earwood. The events consist of a 500- to 700-meter swim, a 12- to 16-mile bike ride and a 5K run. He has no immediate plans to become an Ironman however.
“Maybe when I’m older,” he said.
He hopes his running can be a stepping stone.
“I hope running will get me into college” Earwood said. “They don’t have triathlons in the NCAAs.”
Balancing schoolwork with his athletic pursuits hasn’t been a problem, but if it becomes one, his support system will kick in.
“School comes first, then running or any other sport I’m playing at that time,” he said. “When I’m not doing adequately, my parents let me know.”
When spring rolls around, he plans to swim and get back on the pitch and play soccer for the Cavaliers. Swimming isn’t just for training, he enjoys it for a more personal reason.
“I swim to keep me in shape and it’s really fun and I do it for triathlons, and I like the people who do it with me,” Earwood said. “None of them go to this school. Most of them go to the public schools in the area.”