By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.— Swimming is a tough sport. It challenges you mentally and physically, but the connections built through the sport is something that sticks out for Stayton-grad Kylie Mannix.
“The most memorable part would definitely be the social aspects of the sport. Even though we can’t fully talk while actively swimming, the times before and after practice serve as a great way to make connections and bonds with people,” Mannix said.
“These connections with the other swimmers really help to motivate me to work with the team in mind and realize that I don’t just swim for myself and my progress as an individual, but also for the team as well. That’s definitely my favorite part of swimming- that you can be motivated on both an individual and team level.”
For Mannix, swimming has been a huge part of her life, having swam since she was ten. It was a perfect outlet for her towards a healthy lifestyle. Being a lifeguard helped with her connections and making friendships.
In the pool for the Eagles Mannix made her mark as well. Leaving a legacy as the highest scoring female swimmer in Stayton swim history. Making it to State her all four-years.
It was her Junior Year that she made her move as she finished eighth in the 200-yard freestyle, fifth in the challenging 500-yard freestyle race while helping the 400-yard freestyle relay team to a fifth-place finish.
Dedicated to her craft and her teammates as she made the sacrifices for the sport pointed Eagle Head Swim Coach Curtis Brown.
Mannix built upon her Junior Year during her shortened-Senior Season. Setting school records once more in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:04.8 and rebreaking the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:31.53 time. Finishing second in State in both events to cement her place in school history as the highest scoring female swimmer.
“Being the highest scoring female swimmer in our school’s history was honestly totally unexpected by me. Sure, it had been mentioned as a possibility, but I really didn’t fully realize what it meant when I first heard about it and it’s possible that I still haven’t,” Mannix said. “Having the ability to leave that sort of legacy behind is certainly the most meaningful to me when it comes to getting awareness for our school’s swim team. Being asked “we have a swim team?”
“So often throughout high school, I developed a goal of doing whatever I could to help get our team recognized. Having seen so much misrepresentation for the sport and team over the past four years at our school, I’m definitely proudest of being able to offer this sort of exposure and awareness for our team and everything they work for.”
The Eagles girls team finished third in the State as a team. Mannix hopes that the personal accomplishments, the benchmarks she’s left and the team has left, can serve as progress that those behind her can build upon now she’s onto the next chapter of her career.
“In my mind, the standard should be set with the intention of being improved at some point. I hope that my “mark” being left behind isn’t just a motivator for hard and genuine work, but that it also is a goal for future swimmers to achieve and improve upon,” Mannix said. “That’s another great aspect of this sport and many others, there’s always room for progress and development and I’m so proud of being able to demonstrate that at our school with hopes it’ll happen again with future student athletes of SHS.”
For the now Stayton-grad, it’s onto Oregon State University where she’ll pursue a career path in public health and hoping for a career in physical therapy down the road. She’ll still be swimming however, now with the Corvallis Aquatics Team (CAT) as the Beavers had made cuts to their swim team, an opportunity that Mannix is excited for.
“Being able to continue my swimming career in college at OSU by working with the Corvallis club team is an amazing opportunity. By being with such a powerful and motivational team I know that I have a lot of potential for improvement and room for growth both as a swimmer and as an athlete,” Mannix said.