Young Granite Bay swimmer is making waves
The sport of using nearly every muscle to move through a medium 700 times denser and 55 times more viscous than air has yielded swimmingly exceptional results for Spencer Richard.
“I just think about the race and think about what I need to do when I go faster,” says Richard, a Granite Bay athlete celebrated for his exceptional performances and admirable character.
Richard holds 11 team records for the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club Barracudas in the 11-12 age group. He also owns three records in Comstock, the fastest division in the Northern California Swim League, heading into the league meet Saturday and Sunday at Schaal Pool at UC Davis.
The incoming Cavitt Junior High School seventh-grader trains four to five days a week.
“He wants to do well, but it doesn’t rule his life. He just gets in the water and does what he wants,” says Richard’s mother, Becky Richard, adding her son doesn’t analyze times but does ask coaches for advice.
She remembers taking Richard and his sister to a swim clinic at Johnson Ranch seven years ago to test the water. After seeing Richard’s natural ability in the pool, coaches persuaded him to join the team through the idea that if he didn’t, he would be sitting at the side of the pool every Saturday while his sister raced.
At 8 years old, Richard was recognized as the high-point swimmer at the Sacramento Valley Meet of Champions, a summer league all-star event. He also has secured the Johnson Ranch high-point award in five of his seven years of swimming.
Now 12, Richard’s times surpass Meet of Champions qualifying times for the 100 freestyle, 100 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 50 butterfly — in the 15-18 age division.
“All of our younger kids look up to him,” Barracudas coach Vance Chandler says.
Richard anchors the 11-12 boys freestyle A relay team and swims the butterfly in the medley relay.
The butterfly, he says, is his favorite stroke because of its rhythm and speed. His favorite event is the individual medley, which requires all four strokes.
Outside of swimming, Richard plays water polo and basketball. He has never swum outside the recreational summer league season, which spans from April to August.
Richard’s ultimate swimming goal is to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials someday.
“Don’t give up when you think you’re going to fail,” Richard says. “Keep going.”
NORCAL SWIM LEAGUE
What: Comstock Championships. When: Saturday and Sunday. Meet starts at 8:30 a.m. each day Where: Schaal Pool at UC Davis.
What: Gold Rush Championships. When: July 28-29. Where: Roseville Aquatics Complex.