High School Swimming
Hogsed rides wave with scholarship to Arizona
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta swimmer Nick Hogsed has thrived in the water since he was a boy. Now that wave will carry him on to even bigger things in college.
Starting with lessons at his local YMCA, Hogsed has progressed into a national-caliber swimmer with goals of reaching the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The East Coweta senior has competed for the Carrollton Bluefins and Peachtree City Southern Crescent Aquatic teams over the years, but has been a member of SwimAtlanta since 10th grade, where he trains under the direction of Doug Gjertsen, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in 1988 and 1992.
'He has taught me all about work ethic. If it wasn't for him, I would not be where I am at today. He has pretty much told us it it is 50-50. He can only do so much for us, and the rest is up to us,' Hogsed said.
Hogsed's best swimming is still in front of him after signing a letter of intent on Wednesday to attend the University of Arizona.
Competing at Arizona will give Hogsed a chance to swim for head coach Eric Hansen and assistant Rick DeMont.
'They have told me they can get where I want to go,' Hogsed said.
The recruiting progress kept Hogsed busy, but he knows he made the right choice by signing with the Wildcats.
'Arizona just stuck out for me,' Hogsed said. 'The coaches, and the school and the team, it all just felt right. I had offers from other places, but I loved it all at Arizona.'
It's a sign the hard work has paid off.
Hogsed practically lives in the pool, turning in 12,000 to 14,000 yards a day, sometimes getting up at 4 a.m., to workout before school and then heading back to the water after his classes are over.
He doesn't mind some of the sacrifices.
'I am either in the pool, at school or at home sleeping,' Hogsed said. 'It's a tight schedule. I figure if I am putting in this much time, I might as well make the most of it.'
Although national competitions already fill Hogsed's swim resume, he spends the fall and winter months in the water for the Indians.
'We are all really proud of him and want to see him do well,' said East Coweta coach Alicia Porras. 'So many of the other swimmers really look up to him.'
A year ago, Hogsed qualified for the state meet in all eight individual events and chose the 500 and 200 freestyle for the maximum two allowed swims by the GHSA.
It only took one weekend for the Indians senior to clinch a final trip to the 2014 state meet in February, turning in qualifying times in the 500 freestyle (4:42) and the 200 IM in last Saturday's season opener in Jonesboro. His early mark of 2:00.09 is the fastest so far in the state.
Hogsed has excelled at longdistance events during his varsity career.
'I am a long-distance swimmer, so I love those events. I would love to get the state record in the 500 free. I am still about 10 seconds off, but I feel once I get later in the season, I will be more tapered.' Success, though, has brought sacrifices, especially with his eating habits in order to maintain his stamina.
'For me it's tough because I am on such a strict diet,' he said. 'The amount of calories I have to take in, it's a lot of food. I will sit in class and snack.'
He also knows swimming he the longer events sometimes comes down to mind over matter.
'You have to stay focused,' he said. 'It is just as much mental as physical.'
Hogsed first realized he had a chance compete at a high level when he was still swimming for Carrollton's swim program when he was 10.
'I had a practice one day, and out of all the practices that one stood out. For some reason, I just felt really good. I was sprinting the whole practice. I think that is when I discovered my true potential,' he said.
Hogsed felt his breakout performance of his high school career came this past summer at nationals when he posted both Olympic and World Championship trial times in the 800 freestyle, where he is currently ranked ninth in his age group.
'After that I knew I could do something big,' he said. 'I was confident going in because I was training all summer long. I was getting up at 4 a.m. and swimming again in the evening. It was tough and I knew it was going to pay off. I feel if you are confident about what you do in the pool and what you do in practice, you are going to be confident going into the race.'
Hogsed won't have too much time to celebrate his graduation next May. That's because the day after he gets his high school diploma, he plans to hop a plane, head to Arizona and begin his life as a college swimmer.
The future biology major plans to take classes in the summer and also begin training.
'I am very confident I will be able to swim in the NCAA's my freshman year,' he said.
From there, Hogsed also will set his sights to international competition and hopefully a course toward the 2016 Olympics in the 400 meters.
'That is the ultimate goal,' he said. 'I feel like once I get to Arizona, I will have more time. I won't be in a car two hours a day trying to get back and forth [to the pool]. Everything will be right there and I will be able to concentrate on just swimming and school.'