Spotlight: Patrick Brennan

A thrill shoots through him and a tingle goes down his spine. Feelings of joy escape his soul when he dips his toe in, and he gasps sharply. Patrick Brennan’s whole life got turned upside down.

“Swimming became my whole life,” Brennan, a sophomore, said.

Swimming has been an interesting journey filled with faults and triumphs, and Brennan has pushed on even through all the pain.

Brennan has always been passionate about swimming. The water has become a part of him.

“At first I was always trying to find an excuse to get out of practice,” Brennan said.

When he was little swimming was almost a chore. He said he loved to see his friends and pull himself through the water, but he didn’t like being sore from the hard workouts. He said one of the only reasons he went to practice was because he had a hope of it being a “game day.”

“I have always been really competitive,” Brennan said. “So naturally when we’d play games like water polo or sharks and minnows I would try my hardest to dominate.”

They separated the boys and the girls in lanes to meet the needs of each gender. They had specific coaches, and Brennan said the boys lane was his favorite part about swim team.

“Growing up the girls were too fast,” Brennan said. “This gave the opportunities for guys to just be guys.”

Brennan switched teams when he was 12. He said it was mainly his parents’ decision and he didn’t fully understand the effects this would have on his life. Within a few weeks of being on the new team, Brennan got moved up to the older kids group, which was mainly high school students. He was only a sixth grader. He was often referred to as the “little guy.” Brennan said he started showing up for more and more practices, and the workouts were excruciating.

“I felt like I had to prove myself. I was the little guy. At first I just wanted respect, but somewhere along the way I found my own inner passion and drive for swimming,” Brennan said.

Attending practices paid off. That year, Brennan made it to state and took seventh in the 50-yard butterfly.

“Making state and placing in the top eight made me feel incredible. However, as soon as I touched the wall and saw my time I was already making new goals and thinking of more practices,” he said.

As he got older, Brennan said that he and his family knew it would be in their best interest to switch teams yet again. The competition and different coaching style were the main attractions. When he was on the high school swim team he was often referred to as “the freshman sensation.”  He placed in the top 12 in each of his events.

“I felt like I did when I was younger. I had all these friends, but they were upperclassmen. I wanted nothing more than to prove myself to them and my coach. I was one of the fastest on the team. I was only a freshman so I have high hopes, goals, and dreams for my future high school years,” Brennan said.

Brennan has competed in a sectional meet in Federal Way, Wash., and regionals in Fresno, Calif. This gave him tough competition and great opportunities to meet friends from out of state, he said.

“Swimming isn’t just a sport for me. It’s a lifestyle. When my life goes in a downward spiral and nothing else is going right I have swimming,” he said. “I love going to bed smelling the scent of chlorine on my skin. [Swimming] takes all you are and all you can ever be. Nothing beats the feeling of touching the wall, looking up and seeing a No. 1 next to your name. In that moment all the pain and all the work is worth it. You’ve devoted every ounce of your being to this one thing, and it becomes worth it. That’s why I swim. That’s why I’ll never stop pushing.”