Self-motivation key to Elliot’s big splash for Cathedral team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Johnathan Elliot took to the backstroke like a fish takes to water.

Few better analogies exist to describe the Cathedral swimmer who placed first in the 100-m backstroke and second in the 100-m butterfly Saturday at the South State swim meet in Biloxi.

&uot;I’m amazed my backstroke was that good,&uot; Elliot said. &uot;I thought I had a better chance in the butterfly, honestly.&uot;

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Elliot did not expect to edge some of the best competition in the state last weekend, he said.

&uot;I’ve been practicing a lot harder, and I figured my times would get better,&uot; he said, &uot;but I didn’t think I’d place so high.&uot;

Cathedral swimming coach Tammy Whittington had confidence her star swimmer would make an impact at the meet.

&uot;Johnathan is a very dedicated swimmer,&uot; she said. &uot;He has wonderful technique.&uot;

Elliot’s success is even more impressive considering the relatively small swim team at Cathedral, Whittington said.

&uot;He doesn’t have a lot training companionship,&uot; Whittington said. &uot;There aren’t a lot of swimmers his age in the pool motivating him. He has to be self-motivated.&uot;

Cathedral does not have a pool of its own and the team must use the pool at the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center for training, a situation that sometimes causes scheduling problems.

&uot;A lot of guys at big schools get to train six, seven days a week,&uot; Elliot said. &uot;I get in the pool three days a week max.&uot;

Elliot also plays soccer for Cathedral and sometimes has to decide which practice to skip on busy days. &uot;We usually practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays,&uot; he said. &uot;Those are the days I swim.&uot;

Added to this already hectic schedule is the fact that the State swim meet is on Saturday, also in Biloxi. &uot;To swim back-to-back weekends is very difficult,&uot; Whittington said. &uot;It’s hard to go all out two weeks in a row.&uot;

&uot;I think it’s ridiculous,&uot; Elliot said. &uot;It doesn’t give me much prep time between each meet.&uot;

At least Elliot will have some company on his Biloxi trip this week. Teammates Erin Hyatt, who qualified in the 50-m freestyle, and Nan White, who placed sixth in the 100-m freestyle at South State, will swim at State. Elliot hopes one swimmer in particular doesn’t make it.

&uot;The person who killed me in butterfly last week might not be there Saturday,&uot; he said.