June 8, 2020 — The Heights High Swim Teams had a spectacular year, both in and out of the pool. The Girls Varsity Team was honored as an All-American Scholar Team, a national award bestowed upon teams with twelve or more members earning one of the highest combined GPAs in the country. Heights High’s team was recognized in the Gold tier, meaning less than two dozen teams across the country posted higher academic accomplishments than they did.
The Boys’ Team also had a combined GPA high enough for the honor, but with fewer than twelve members they didn’t qualify for the national recognition.
Dan Budin, a Heights High graduate who has served as head coach of the teams for the past six years, acknowledges the advantages most of his swimmers have with college-educated parents at home, but also credits how hard these student-athletes work. “Their dedication to both school and the sport have made me immensely proud.”
All six of the graduating seniors on the Girls’ Team were honored as individual Academic All-American student-athletes for their classroom achievements during all four years of high school.
“It’s an extremely intense sport that requires physical and emotional commitment,” said Budin. The swimmers meet in the weight room to work out prior to school every day of week, and swim in the afternoons and on Saturdays. “To be successful in swimming, you have to have the characteristics that make you successful in the classroom as well.”
But it’s not just swim and homework for these kids, who are also members of the Vocal and Instrumental Music Departments, the Art Club, the Robotics team, and more. “These swimmers are in every club imaginable,” said Budin.
In addition to nutrition and mindfulness plans for each swimmer, they also participated in weekly study sessions. “One theme I saw was that they were as committed to each other as to their individual events. Each kid wanted the others to do as well or better than them.”
Their success was recognized in the water as well. Both teams posted their best records in years, with the Boys’ Team winning nine of ten dual meets and placing fourth in the Division I sectional meet in February. Coach Budin is excited about the future of swimming at Heights, especially given the strength of this year’s sophomore swimmers.