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Friday, Dec. 8
The Indiana Daily Student


Freshman swims to top

Love of swimming drives Olympic hopeful to improve

At age 10, tragedy hit close to home for freshman Richard Bryant when the best friend of his uncle drowned. Fearful of such an accident happening again, Bryant's mother enlisted the whole family in swimming lessons. \n"I was the worst," Bryant said of his skill at the time.\nBut Bryant has since developed into a polished swimmer, posting team season best times in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650 yard freestyle races so far this year. \n"Richard works really hard," freshman teammate and roommate Murph Halasz said. "He always swims really fast and just doesn't like to lose." \nBryant said he credits his mother with keeping him on track to a successful swimming career. \n"My mom had the biggest influence on me without a doubt," Bryant said. "There were loads of times when I didn't want to go swimming in the morning. What she used to do was turn the light on, open the curtains and throw water on me. I'd be shivering in my bed, so that was horrible. She did that for years, but it helped."\nWhile the freestyle races are his specialty, Bryant has shown his versatility this year, competing in the 200 and 400 yard individual medleys, the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard butterfly events. \n"Swimming is a sport where you don't get injured a lot -- you don't have people tackling you or jumping on top of you," Bryant said. "I'm one of about three or four guys who can just jump in and compete in a lot of events."\nA native of Somerset, England, Bryant came to IU because he knew it boasted a top swimming program. Once here, Bryant said he found it hardest to adjust to the demands of school and the lack of a national enthusiasm for soccer.\n"It's been a very difficult transition, because I talk to my friends back home, and English universities are a joke," he said. "You don't have to do a lot to get a degree. So, it's been a real culture shock for me because you have to work really hard in class and after class as well. And there's no soccer, I can't believe it."\nHead coach Kris Kirchner said he feels Bryant has the potential to develop into an elite swimmer. \n"He's worked really hard and put up some really good times this season," he said. "However, he needs to buckle down and refine his little things-turns, push-offs-little things that add to the overall performance. \n"From the first day of practice, I knew he could be a great swimmer. One of his goals is to get to the Olympic games, and I think he can get there. But he does have some development to do, and the sooner he can get it over with, the better he'll be."\nBryant agreed and said that a determination to get better and a love of swimming are what motivate him. \n"Swimming takes up a lot of time, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it," Bryant said. "It's a sport where you can't do it if you don't enjoy it. I'd like to carry on in swimming and do it as a profession, but I have to get a lot better before I can do that"

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