Prep Sports

Mount Vernon's Sydney Jones making a splash in the pool

HS journalism: Sophomore recently same in national event

Mount Vernon sophomore Sydney Jones, swimming for Cedar Rapids Washington, swims the 100-yard backstroke at the 2017 girls’ state championships in Marshalltown. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Mount Vernon sophomore Sydney Jones, swimming for Cedar Rapids Washington, swims the 100-yard backstroke at the 2017 girls’ state championships in Marshalltown. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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MOUNT VERNON — As she steps onto the swimming block, waiting for the starting pistol to sound, Sydney Jones takes a deep breath and prepares to compete.

Last month, Jones, a sophomore at Mount Vernon High School, had the opportunity to swim at nationals for the first time. It takes time to prepare for an event so big and it all starts with putting the time in to qualify.

Jones did that.

Last fall, Jones was a key part on Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ swim team. She placed third in regionals in the 100 backstroke the past two years, her favorite event.

“... I’ve just always liked it and it’s fun to compete in,” said Jones, who was 19th in state as a freshman.

Before each event, Jones enjoys doing pre-event rituals with her teammates.

“We do cheers before we swim and we also have a few relay rituals which are kind of weird,” Jones said. “In the 200 medley, we get water from our home pool and our coach pours the water over our heads before the race. In the 200 free relay, everyone has to kiss a duck my coach has before the race. In the 400 free relay, we have to take a doughnut and put it on our forehead and then our coach has to eat it.”

By doing this, Jones and her teammates hope for good luck in their race.

“I also listen to music before I swim and that always gets me pumped up and ready to race,” she said.

Jones’ sophomore season came to an end in the fall, after state swimming, but that was just the beginning of her club season.

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“I swim year-round,” she said. “Even when I’m on my breaks, I’m still in the water three times a week.”

When she is not swimming for Washington High School, she is competing for the MACR Sharks club team through the Cedar Rapids YMCA.

“I love the atmosphere. Swimming is unlike any other sport, because everyone gets along so well and it’s fun to be pushed by my friends to be the best I can be,” Jones said.

As a result of hard work and dedication, Jones qualified for nationals while competing at regionals with the Sharks in the 100-meter backstroke.

“I have been working towards this since I was 13 and it is really rewarding to know that my hard work is paying off,” Jones said.

At the national meet, Jones placed 40 places higher than she was seeded, swimming an impressive 59.48 seconds.

“It was overall a great experience,” she said. “I got to meet a few Olympic swimmers and I had an amazing time.”

Jones is a very successful swimmer, and like most athletes, she has a support team.

“I’m so grateful for the people that push me to do my best,” Jones said, “My coaches, Donald and Paul, and also my parents, they always believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.”

Jones has several goals for the rest of her high school career.

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“I am planning on swimming in college,” she said. “I also hope to make it back to the finals this fall for high school state in my 100 back.”

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.