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Athlete Spotlight: Grace Newsom, Augusta Prep

Posted: December 6, 2017 - 1:29am
Grace Newsom is trying to figure out if she wants to swim in college. She says it’s a delicate balance between schoolwork and swim work.

Grace Newsom's weekday routine used to be pretty easy.

She would leave Augusta Prep at 3 p.m. Get to USC Aiken at 4. Swim for two hours. Go home. Eat supper. Do homework. Go to sleep.

Now that she's a junior, her workload has gotten heavier, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Newsom has adjusted her schedule, but her goals remain the same after finding success in the pool last season.

In January, she helped lead the Augusta Prep girls to a runner-up finish in the GISA State Swim Meet, the team's best finish since placing as runner-up in 2008. Newsome claimed her first state title, winning the 100 free.

"I was very excited," she said. "That wasn't the best time I've swam. Still, it was nice to see your work pay off."

Also at the state meet, Newsom finished second in the 200 free, second in the 200 medley relay, second in the 200 free relay and third in the 100 back.

Newsom began swimming in first grade. It only made sense. Her father, Paul, a finance professor at USC Aiken, swam in college. Her father would swim laps at the YMCA pool when Grace was little, while she would play in the pool. When she was in first grade, he gave her an ultimatum: Find an instrument to play and a sport to play. She started piano, while she also swam. Because of her schoolwork at Augusta Prep, Newsom said she only has time to swim.

Newsom, who lives in Aiken, began attending Augusta Prep in seventh grade. She's one of a handful of students who rides the bus, awaking at 6 a.m., meeting the bus at 7 and then taking a 40-minute bus ride to the school.

"It's not that bad once you get used to it," she said. "I can sleep or use it to do homework I forgot to do."

Newsom swam for Augusta Prep in middle school. Her freshman season, she qualified for the state meet. She said she'll compete in anything but the breaststroke - she isn't a fan of long-distance competitions, either. She specializes in the 50, 100 and 200 free and back.

She swam the 100 back and 200 back at her last school meet this season. She said she will compete in more individual events, stating she's planning to qualify for state in three or four of them.

Beyond high school, Newsom is still trying to figure out whether she wants to swim in college or not. She likes the fact there's an immediate group of friends if she were to swim, but she also knows it's a delicate balance between schoolwork and swim work.

As for her major, Newsom said she's undecided. She will, however, likely major in something in either the biology or science fields.

As for now, she said her main concern is trying to become a faster swimmer. She's working on hydration. She's working on technique. But there is one problem:

"I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world," she said. "I would love to get faster in the 50 free and 100 free. Those are the best competitions to compare yourself to everyone."

 

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