Hunter Sherwood has been swimming competitively since age 9, hoping that someday his talent would earn him an opportunity to compete at the collegiate level.
After years of hard work that culminated in an impressive finish to his high-school career, that dream has come true. Sherwood, who graduated from Tooele High School in May, has signed a national Letter-of-Intent to swim at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon.
“I really liked how the coach ran the team, and I just liked it there,” Sherwood said, noting that his primary goal is to complete his general-education requirements before moving on to a four-year school to get his bachelor degree. “I’m looking forward to being able to swim against new people and drop more time. When I swim against someone who’s faster than me, it always pushes me to go faster, and with this competition, that will definitely help.”
Sherwood sees himself competing mainly in the butterfly and backstroke, though he is open to any event his college coach wants him to try. But at the Class 4A state championship meet in February, Sherwood definitely showed his strength in those two strokes in particular. He finished sixth in the 100-yard backstroke with a personal-best time of 55.83 seconds, and added a ninth-place finish in the 100 fly in a personal-best 55.77. He teamed with Collin McEachern, Scott Howsden and Grayson Seal to finish seventh in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay, and was a major part of the reason the Buffaloes finished eighth in the team standings.
It was those kinds of performances that gave Sherwood the confidence that he could compete at the next level.
“Looking at my times and stuff, I figured I might be able to do it,” Sherwood said. “I decided I wasn’t done swimming.”
Prior to the state meet, Sherwood had never finished the 100 fly or 100 back in under 56 seconds. His time in the 100 fly was four-tenths of a second faster than his previous best and 1.22 seconds faster than his best time from his junior season, while his time in the 100 back was an improvement of 36 hundredths of a second and 3.62 seconds faster than his best time as a junior.
Sherwood also showed a great deal of versatility as a senior. He set new personal-bests in the 200 free (1:54.40), 200 individual medley (2:12.88), 50 free (24.13) and 500 free (5:19.97), with his times in the 200 free, 200 IM and 500 free all ranking among the top 30 in Class 4A for the 2017-18 season.