Making the sacrifices necessary to be a high-caliber athlete is tough enough, but the added pressure of school life as well for student-athletes means little time for friends and family.
Making the sacrifices necessary to be a high-caliber athlete is tough enough, but the added pressure of school life as well for student-athletes means little time for friends and family. Which makes honors such as the one recently bestowed upon McPherson High School senior Derick Goodson mean that much more. Goodson was recently selected to the Missouri Valley Swimming All-Academic team, an honor bestowed upon those athletes who have competed in several regional championship meets and carry a grade point average of 3.2 or above. In the past twelve months, Goodson has competed in the Oklahoma Pro-Am, the Senior Zones, the Division I championships, the sectionals and is listed as one of the top eight swimmers in the Missouri Valley division of USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport. And he carries a 3.4 GPA while taking the Kansas Board of Regents Honors Curriculum at MHS. “It can be pretty hard to maintain a balance, so I really have to watch my grades,” Goodson said. “My education, as well as my performance in the pool, is an important part of being a college-bound athlete.” Goodson has been splitting his time between Wichita, where he competes with the Aqua Shocks in the Missouri Valley division, and then also at the McPherson YMCA on his own time. Now that the MHS swim team has started practicing, Goodson estimates he’ll be swimming six hours a week in Wichita, several hours a week on his own and five hours a week with the high school team. On top of that, he also spends several hours a week with dry land training, such as specialized lifting, stretching and conditioning. Needless to say, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for socializing. “I count on Twitter and Facebook to stay connected to my friends,” Goodson said. While he does sacrifice much in his quest to improve himself, both in the pool and academically, Goodson keeps his motivation by striving to meet his dreams, which includes a possible attempt to make the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2016. “I like the challenge of overcoming obstacles,” Goodson said. “Swimming is unique in that you not only race the swimmer in the next lane, but you continually try to beat your best time.” Goodson is focused right now on the Bullpup swim season, which starts Nov. 27 with an invitational at Newton High School, but, with his senior year in full swing, he is keeping the future in mind. “I plan on attending a university to complete a degree in marketing and then attain an MBA in business,” Goodson said. “Unfortunately, Kansas doesn’t have college swim programs, so all my choices have been out of state.” Goodson hasn’t announced his decision for college as yet, but stated he had made several college visits and is in the process of narrowing it down. As for the MHS swim season, Goodson already his goals in mind. “I currently hold the 100 freestyle record at the high school,” he said. “My goal is to break the 50 freestyle, the 100 backstroke and the 100 butterfly.”