After swimming most of his life and two years in high school, Clinton swimmer Jack Marlowe took his junior season off.
It does make sense when you look at the things he was juggling. Marlowe participates in CHS drama and choir, along with Student Council and a number of other clubs and activities around the school hallways.
Overall, though, Marlowe just felt like he had lost a spark when it came to being in the pool for competition.
“I was swimming since sixth grade and I lost my passion a little bit,” Marlowe said. “I swam year round before I quit and I was feeling a little burnt out, especially with all the things high school has to offer. It just didn’t seem like it was good for me at the time.”
He’s back for his senior campaign, right in the thick of the 2019-2020 swimming season with the River Kings. His decision to dive back in was threefold: fitness, missing the routine, and the members of the River King swim team.
“I wanted to get back in shape a little bit, and swimming was just a good fit,” Marlowe said. “It was weird in the winter, after the musical, I didn’t have that much to do. It was nice to get back into doing something every day. Plus, the great team was something I was really interested in getting back to.”
The River Kings are a fun-loving and close-knit bunch. The team has grown in numbers, especially since Marlowe left. His sophomore season, the program was down to just 13 swimmers. This year, they’re back to numbers over 20.
“It’s really great to see that the team has grown so much,” Marlowe said.
Plus, when he was swimming as an underclassman he was often swimming with those older athletes because of his talent. That meant that even though he was swimming with the same faces before, he’s forming new relationships now that he’s back. That’s one of his favorite parts of returning to the pool
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Marlowe said. “I’m a lot closer to a lot of the swimmers than I was before I quit. I definitely appreciate it a lot more.
“I’m going to take away having a lot better relationship with the team. I’ve been swimming with them since my freshman year but I never got to know them as well because I was spending more time with the upperclassmen. I’m glad about the friendships I’ve made this year. It’s going to stay with me a while.”
Marlowe does a lot of the shorter sprint races for the River Kings. Although he isn’t in the best swim shape of his life, he’s definitely still one of the top sprinters on the team.
“I had a shoulder issue so I don’t swim many longer races,” Marlowe said. “Sprints, I like that they’re quick and to the point.”
Even so, the River Kings aren’t necessarily looking for big postseason runs and accolades. They’re working on building a program, boosting their numbers, and improving every day.
Plus, they love forming relationships, especially now that the team has expanded.
For Marlowe, it’s been a whirlwind of a prep swim career, but one that he can now look back on. After a year away, he knows how important the sport is to him personally.
Although he regrets now swimming his junior year, it’s given him a perspective as a senior and made him a lot more grateful for his time in the lanes and for the rest of the River King team.
“I learned that I should have listened to the people who told me I should have stayed in swimming,” Marlowe said. “My parents definitely ... they knew more about it than I thought I did. I would have been a lot better this year if I had been back last year, too.
“Before, I was swimming just to swim and I felt some pressure on me because I was one of the better swimmers. Coming back, not having a lot expected of me, I’m having a lot more fun.”