Friday, May 22, 2015

Berkshire’s Porter a 1-Swimmer Team
December 20, 2013 by Jamie Ward | No Comments

Berkshire junior Becca Porter swims at Invitationals and competes in the OHSAA tournament, yet has no teammates or coach at events (except her mother).

Becca Porter sits alone against the wall at the natatorium at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva. She’s wearing a gray hoodie, listening to her iPod. She doesn’t know any of the hundreds of other swimmers at the Chardon Invitational. Her swim team is a swimmer: her.

The kids at school say, we have a swim team? “But I guess it’s not really a team,” Becca said.

“I had some friends who swam by themselves, too,” said the junior. “But here, I don’t have anyone. I guess you could say it’s lonely sometimes. It’s kind of fun, too. Solitary you can focus on what you’re doing.”

Becca’s mom, Lisa, is the Berkshire representative for the meet, having earned the certification to watch her daughter swim competitively.

Becca has always been a swimmer without a home, without a pool. In the off-season she competes with the Solon Stars, a club team that she joined in 2004. Her USA swimming coach is Kevin Harrod.

Becca qualified for districts her freshman and sophomore year.

As a new high-schooler, Becca swam with Aurora’s varsity team. Then they said she couldn’t anymore. Solon High School didn’t want to set a precedent, so now she swims with Solon’s middle school team, which she said “works out well.”

“It’s nice now because she can drive herself,” her mom said, laughing.

Berkshire recognizes swimming as a varsity sport. Becca has a varsity letter. But without a team, she mostly swims at invitationals.

For this one-man team, practice is six days a week year round.

At 7, on a ride home from swimming lessons at Hiram College, she said, “I want to swim races,” her mom said. And that was it.

Becca isn’t sure she remembers.

“I feel like it gets to the point where you don’t remember if it’s what people have told you or what you actually remember,” she said. “But I’d like to say yes.”

This day, alone at SPIRE, she swims the 200 individual medley and 100 breast stroke. She places 13th and 9th — an off day following an off day, Lisa says.

Her team finishes in last place, of course; she scored the only two points.

The life of a one-man band, and Berkshire’s first swimmer.

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