Oddly, one’s ability to find his way to the top tends to be the easy part.
Staying there, however, is a whole different matter.
Following a breakout 2015 campaign in which he claimed state titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay events, such was the challenge that confronted Waccamaw swimmer Patrick Sullivan.
His standing as one of the Grand Strand’s best in the pool already cemented, Sullivan had eyes for this past season. And one thing those statewide have learned, what the Warriors’ standout wants … he gets.
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Though rigorous, a training schedule that includes routine trips back and forth between Pawleys Island and Mount Pleasant has reaped dividends for Sullivan. No evidence is more telling than his performance at this past October’s state meet, bringing home a pair of individual state titles — successfully defending his 50- and 100-yard freestyle crowns earned the year before — along with relay wins in the 200- and 400-yard relay events.
“Me and the team worked really hard this season. Our goal was to win both those relays and we did, so it feels really great to accomplish a goal,” he said. “You get a good feeling at the beginning of the meet, and you try to keep that feeling and [the results happen]. It was lucky.”
While luck may have played a minor role, most will contend the Waccamaw dynamo’s work was all skill. There is something that certainly isn’t up for debate, though — Sullivan is The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Boys Swimmer of the Year.
It is the second consecutive year in which Sullivan has earned the award. This past swim season, he did not lose in any events that he participated.
Recently, the Waccamaw standout committed to swim at Washington and Lee University, located in Lexington, Va. Also giving him looks were Penn State, New York University (NYU) and South Carolina.
Such would close the chapter on stellar career for Sullivan, a member of the Warriors’ swim team each of the past six years. None was more gratifying than this past season, though, given the ability to enjoy not only his own personal achievements, but also that of the team.
Waccamaw finished fourth at the Class 3A state meet, earning 306 points — both setting a new bar for the program.
“We finished higher than we ever finished before, we scored more points than we have before, and brought more (qualifiers to the state meet) than we ever did before. So I think this is a team legacy that will last a long time,” he said. “This is one of the best teams I have ever been a part of, and I’ve been a part of the team for six years.”
TOAST OF THE COAST — BOYS SWIMMING
Swimmer of the Year
Notable: Claimed individual gold at the Class 3A level in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, in addition to being part of the Warriors’ state title-winning 200- and 400-yard relay teams.
School: North Myrtle Beach
Notable: Finished seventh in Class 4A in the 100-yard butterfly and 12th in the 200-yard individual medley.
Notable: Finished third in the 50-yard freestyle event, while claiming second in the 100-yard freestyle. He was also part of the state title-winning 200- and 400-yard relay teams.
Notable: Region VI-3A champion in the 200-yard individual medley. Finished seventh in the 100-yard breastroke and 11th in the 200-yard individual medley at Class 3A state meet.
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Claimed Class 4A state titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, while helping the Seahawks to a third place finish in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay events.
Notable: Finished fourth and fifth in the 100-yard butterfly and backstroke events, respectively, in addition to being part of state title-winning 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Earned third place in 50-yard freestyle, and was part of the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams that claimed third as well at the Class 4A swim meet.
School: St. James
Notable: Brought home a pair of medals from the state 4A swimming championships, earning a silver in the 500-yard freestyle, while claiming a bronze in the 100-yard backstroke.
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Claimed the Region VII-4A title in the 200-yard individual medley, along with being part of the Seahawks’ 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams that claimed a league title and third overall at the Class 4A swim meet.
Coach of the Year
Coach: David Dear
Notable: In another stellar year for the Warriors boys swim team, Dear helped navigate it to a fourth-place result at the Class 3A state meet.