Year away from sport refocuses Seymour swimmer

For The Tribune

While some high school athletes prefer indoor sports and others like competing outdoors, Seymour’s Jake Vance likes both.

He swam for the Owls for three years and this spring is looking forward to competing with the track and field team again in the pole vault.

Vance said he had a lot of free time during the winter of his junior year and sat out swim season.

He missed his time in the water and came back to the team this season.

“I came back, and now I’m more dedicated,” Vance said. “I didn’t take it seriously the first two years and now I’m more dedicated.”

Vance was chosen by his teammates as a co-captain of the team this winter.

“It’s a very nice honor,” Vance said of being a captain. “We have the pre-season and that’s when people realize who’s who, and if you just show your hard work and dedication people notice it.”

Vance began his swimming with the Brave Wave program in Brownstown.

He said of his high school events, “I haven’t changed that much. I still do the 100 breaststroke. I used to do the 100 freestyle, now I do the 50 freestyle because it takes more power and precision. It gives me a lot more rest (between events).”

The senior’s best time in the breaststroke is 1:04.

“I plan on going 59 in the sectional,” he said and added that the area he thinks he can drop time is in his turns. “It will definitely be my turns. My turns I’m not very confident on, but I’m pretty well rounded. It’s more mental than physical. I work on my turns every chance I get.”

He swims both the 200 and 400 free relays.

“I like the 400 because it’s the last (event of the meet),” Vance said. “I just like the race. It doesn’t matter if it’s the two slowest people in the world, if they’re neck-and-neck that’s what I like. I always go last. I love the pressure. I’m very good under pressure.

“I’m very confident in my strokes, and my takeoffs and all that,” Vance said. “My coaches give me plenty of time to work on that. It’s more mental now because I’m a senior and I know most of it. It’s just knowing these guys don’t work as hard as me and if they do, what are they doing more than me so I can get better?”

Vance has his sights set on Feb. 18 at Floyd Central.

“The only thing I really look forward to is sectionals, just being on top of the podium,” Vance said. “Right now I’m seeded second in the breaststroke.”

He said practice is vital in sports.

“Practice is the No. 1 key in swimming,” Vance said. “If you’re not at practice there is something wrong with you, and if you’re not doing anything you might as well not come.”

Vance said his highlight swim came at the start of this season.

“This year when we faced Jeffersonville for our second home meet, Dave (Boggs, head coach) brought me to the side and said we had to win the breaststroke to be able to win the meet,” Vance said. “Since I had been in high school we had not been able to beat Jeff. I won the breastroke by .05 seconds. Those are the races I love, the close ones.”

The Owls won 94-86.

Vance’s career-best in the pole vault is 13-6, which he did in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet.

Vance said it takes confidence to clear the bar, especially on a windy day.

“It’s your mindset,” Vance said. “If you go in there thinking about all the videos where people (miss) and bust their face you’re not going to do well. You’ve just got to think about being a bird and flying, and that helps a lot.

“The wind can be a bear. That’s where it comes into preparation and you mindset. When you’re mentally prepared its more speed than anything. If you run right into it you’ll get over it. You’ve just got to trust yourself. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I just love being in the air and I enjoy track in the spring time and I enjoy the people on the team.”

He placed second in both the conference and sectional last year, and has been a regional qualifier in vault the past two seasons.

This spring, he aims for semistate and beyond.

Over the years, Vance has enjoyed his time at Seymour.

“I have loved the opportunity to come to (Seymour),” Vance said. “It’s been an amazing experience, the people are amazing, and it’s awesome.”

Vance file

Name: Jake Vance

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Jeff and Judy

Siblings: Jordyn, Josh

Sports: swimming 3 years, track 4 years

Athletic highlights: track: 2016 sectional champions, 2015 and 2016, regional qualifier in pole vault.

Plans after high school: carpentry

Favorite food: chicken

Favorite movie: Die Hard

Favorite athlete: Connor McGregor

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.