Athletes of the Month: Ethan Olson & Andrew Sexton
Peninsula High School
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Olson comes from a family of divers and is carrying on the tradition of success when it comes to the sport.
Ethan, who is captain of the dive team, recently qualified for a trip to state in February, scoring a personal best of 375.30 points (to qualify for state a score of 330 is required) and was the undefeated league champion this year.
Ethan, who has a 3.88 GPA, plans to attend Brigham Young University - Idaho to complete his general studies before transferring to BYU - Hawaii, where he will focus on his courses required for his major.
“I’ve always had a strong connection with the ocean, being fascinated with its mysterious and beautiful wildlife and ecosystems. A few years ago, I discovered my new love and passion for photography,” he said. “It would be a dream to combine the ocean and photography to create something beautiful. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Ethan said one of the things he enjoys about diving is the fact his dad is his coach. “He was a very skilled and successful diver in high school, and he’s gathered great knowledge of the sport over the years, which he has passed down to me,” said Ethan. “He also knows my strengths and weaknesses.”
In addition, Ethan said the guys he dives with make the practices much more exciting and energetic. “We lift each other up when we’re frustrated about a dive we’re struggling with, give each other tips and pointers on form and entries. But best of all we just have fun!”
Ethan said his dad has taught him never to give up, especially when it comes to diving.
“I’m always learning new dives and dives in new positions, so it's important to keep trying even when it's hard to get the dive down,” said Ethan. “The more I practice, the easier I become aware of where I am in the air during a dive.”
Gig Harbor High School
A sophomore at Gig Harbor High School, 15-year-old Andrew Sexton is already making his mark for the Tides’ swim team. His freshman year he went to state for both swimming and water polo and has qualified for the Washington State high school swimming championship in five events this year.
And it’s not just in the pool where Andrew has excelled; he has a cumulative GPA of 4.0. Andrew plans to attend a four-year college where he would like to continue his swimming career and pursue a degree in engineering.
Andrew shares that it has been a challenge to juggle academics and athletics, especially since his classes have become increasingly more difficult. “I have had to make time for both,” said Andrew. “I still do things I enjoy outside of school but am now more focused on academics and sports.”
Grateful to his teammates who have inspired him, Andrew said he enjoys the competition that swimming brings.
“Our team has gotten much more competitive, and now that I am swimming at a higher level, I feel that the competition and my teammates are helping me improve,” said Andrew.
His coach, Mike Kelly, has taught Andrew that one’s mentality is just as important as athletic ability, no matter what sport one plays.
“He told us that if you think negatively before you compete, it will show in your swimming, and it was true for me. Last week we had three swim meets back to back, and all I could think about was how hard it was going to be and how tired it would make me. But during the last meet, I changed my mindset and swam significantly faster than the two meets before.”