By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Leesburg (May 13, 2016) — Heritage High School senior Phillip Crouch has made a commitment to continue his swimming career at Florida Atlantic University starting in the 2016-2017 school year where he will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 100-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle.
“There’s so much stress off my shoulders,” the 6-foot-2 Crouch said. “Going into the season, I wasn’t sure if I would be fast enough to commit to a bigger [Division I] school But knowing that I worked hard this season, and that it paid off, is very satisfying. I can’t wait to get down to Boca and start training.”
The Owls are coached by Lara Preacco — a former Florida Atlantic University swimmer — who took over the head coaching duties in 2014 after serving as an assistant starting in 2012.
“[Florida Atlantic] was always one of my top choices, since the beginning of my junior year,” Crouch said. “I really like Boca, which is close to my family, and the university offers a very respectable political science program, which I plan on majoring in, for Pre-Law. Not to mention the great coaching staff, their head coach was an Olympian for Switzerland. With my times from this year, I would’ve scored at [the]Conference [USA meet], so I hope to place in the top 8 in 100 and 200 breaststroke there.”
Crouch mentioned that when he gets to Florida Atlantic he hopes, although a freshman, he can be a leader in and out of the pool.
“Being a team leader is also something I would consider to be one of my strong suits; I like to see my teammates be the best they can be so I try to encourage them,” Crouch said. “On the other hand, I would be the first to get on to my teammates if they were screwing around in practice.”
Crouch did not swim his senior year at Heritage, mainly so he could focus on getting his times down to be able to get the opportunity to swim collegiately, but while swimming he had much success for the Pride.
“I really enjoyed swimming for Heritage, which is why I felt like I let a lot of people down by not doing it this year,” Crouch said. “Winning states as a sophomore was probably the highlight of [my]high school swim [career]. Coach Robertson and Schiffer were very supportive of me [not swimming for Heritage], since they know I was aiming to make a college team.”
The Pembroke Pines, Florida-native mentioned that although a surgery took him from the pool for a couple years in middle school, coming back was the best decision of his life.
“I’ve always been athletic but I hated contact sports, so I fell in love with swimming when my mom introduced me to it when I was in elementary school,” said Crouch who swims for Snow Swimming. “I had my gallbladder removed in the summer before 6th grade, and I had to stop swimming. I didn’t start again until the end of my freshman year at Heritage. Coach Schiffer encouraged me to do some extra work during the season and I made the state team for a couple relays and 100 breast. I guess that’s when I got serious about the sport. My friends at Snow Swimming really encouraged me to come back to the sport full time, and I did.”
Crouch also mentioned that he really wants to make the cut for the NCAA finals at some point while at Florida Atlantic.
“With my times from this year, I would’ve scored at [the]Conference [USA meet], so I hope to place in the top 8 in 100 and 200 breaststroke there,” Crouch said. “ A big motivator for me is being in the finals for NCAA’s at some point of my collegiate career, as well as making the Olympic Trials cut for breaststroke. That’s more of what I’ve been thinking about lately.”