Patriots’ swimmer makes marks in pool and in school

March 15, 2011

By Josh Liebeskind

The combination of size, power and technique make for a good swimmer. Add raw talent, and that swimmer has the chance to be great.

Logan Briggs finishes a race this year in a meet against Interlake High School. Barely halfway through his high school career, Briggs already owns several school records in both individual and relay events. By Josh Liebeskind

When opposing swimmers line up on the starting block next to Logan Briggs, they see all those attributes. But it’s not those attributes that make the Liberty High School junior a special swimmer.

It is his competitiveness — that pushes him to do three-a-day workouts during the summer, that pulls him out of bed at 4:30 a.m. for a workout before school — that separates him from challengers.

“He doesn’t let his talent and size go to waste,” Liberty High School head swim coach Kris Daughters said. “He’s an animal in workouts. I mean, I have a hard time putting together a workout that will challenge him.”

The drive that pushes Briggs to perform doesn’t come from Daughters, his parents or anyone else, for that matter; it is, apparently, just part of his nature. Briggs himself isn’t quite sure why he works so hard.

“I ask myself that a lot, actually,” he said recently after a swim meet with Interlake High School.

In the end, he chalks it up to his competitive nature, which is present in his daily life. Whether it’s trying to attain a higher grade in school than his friends — Briggs carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average — or getting in fewer car accidents — zero to one — than his older brother, Briggs takes a competitive approach to life.

That’s the best explanation Briggs can land on for why he still swims.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s good. Real good.

Barely halfway through his high school career, Briggs already owns several school records in both individual (the 200- and 500-freestyle) and relay (the 200-medley and 400-freestyle) events.

Last month at the 3A state swimming and diving championships, Briggs finished second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle.

Last year, Briggs was two-tenths of a second from completing the Ironman, the unofficial title for qualifying for the state championships in each of the eight events. The backstroke is the only race standing in the way of the honorary title this year.

Briggs’ talent was apparent from early on. Melanie Briggs started her son in swimming when he was 7, prodding him to stay in the sport at first, but before long it was all up to him.

“The thing about him is he’s so goal oriented,” she said. “He’ll set himself a goal and that’s what he’s focused on,” she said.

Determination to complete his goals are what kept him swimming with a broken arm when he was 14, providing a funny site to spectators: a kid swimming with a cast.

But, despite the label of “an animal,” as one Interlake High School parent described him at a recent meet, and the way he easily pulls away for victory almost every time he dives in the water, Briggs is much more than the typical star athlete.

As impossible as it is to talk to Briggs for more than a few minutes without seeing a goofy grin, it’s even more of a challenge to discuss his accomplishments without him mentioning his teammates.

“Every time we get in the relay, we’re trying to go for the record,” he said about Kevin Hays, Luke Duschl, Raymond Ha and Connor Biehl, his relay partners. “They’re funny, always trying to psych each other out.”

As much fun as he has with his friends and teammates, Briggs has little time left for play. He’s also a member of the Issaquah Swim Team, a year-round club. But being so busy has taught Briggs the importance of organization and prioritization. That comes in handy when keeping on top of schoolwork, making his mom’s life a lot easier.

“He’s doing really well,” she said. “He’s a very smart kid.”

Briggs said he isn’t sure whether he’ll swim in college yet, but he’s been in contact with a handful of Ivy League schools. He isn’t willing to make his future dependent on swimming, though, and is considering joining his older brother Austin at the University of Washington, where there is currently no swim team.

“He’s a neat kid. He’s a one-of-a-kind,” Daughters said. “He’s the type of swimmer that you only get around once a decade.”

Opposing swimmers won’t argue with Daughters, but if you talk to anyone who spends time with Briggs, you’ll realize they think he’s great because of who he is out of the pool, not in it.

Josh Liebeskind is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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