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Jacob Montague '16 swims a competitive breaststroke at a meet.  Montague hopes to join the University of Michigan swim team.

Jacob Montague '16 swims a competitive breaststroke at a meet. Montague hopes to join the University of Michigan swim team.


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By Lauren Thom ’18Staff Writer

As one of the premier swimmers in the nation, Jacob Montague ’16 was selected to be a member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team on Sept. 16.  

For each event, USA Swimming accepts the top six times in the country for swimmers under 18 years old. Montague qualifies for the 100 meter breaststroke and the 200 meter breaststroke.

“I started seriously training my sophomore year of high school. That’s when I started swimming year-round,” Montague said. “Since March, that’s when things have just started coming together.”

Grosse Pointe Gators head coach John Fodell has been one of Montague’s biggest motivators, he said.

“He’s there every practice, every meet. He’s always helping me get faster and find new things to do,” Montague said.

Fodell said Montague works as hard as anyone he has ever seen and is a standout swimmer who everyone wants to watch.

“He has learned what it takes to get to this point and wants to go further, so he trains as hard as possible,” Fodell said via e-mail.

The selection process for the Junior National team is all automatic.  After each race, Montague said all the times are computer generated and sent in automatically to a database and the top six in the country are chosen.

“They sent me an email saying that I was selected, and posted it a couple days after that,” Montague said.

Montague said he never thought he’d be able to swim at the same level as some of the other swimmers on team.

“There’s a lot of people that are a lot faster than me on there, so it was kind of a relief that I was able to achieve that,” Montague said. “It kind of gives me confidence to say that I’m on that team.”

Montague practices six days a week for three hours a day.  He said having such a busy schedule teaches him time-management skills, and even though he has to sacrifice some social aspects of his life, it’s all worth it when he gets a new best time. There are also meets one to two times a month.

“There’s about two or three really big meets per year at the end of each season. Those are the ones that I’m really focused on,” Montague said.

Each year a whole new team is selected in September.  Previous team members do not have a secured spot. They have to re-qualify.  The only times taken into account are the ones within that year, so a swimmer could not use a time from a couple of years ago.

Montague said it means a lot to to be recognized on a national level and know that he is capable of being a part of something like this.

“It’s not really that other people respect you, but it’s a respect to yourself.  It gives you confidence each time you swim, knowing that you’re on that level,” Montague said.

Montague said he doesn’t think this experience will affect his mindset that much. He is trying to think less about the fact he is on the team and more about what the next step is.

“I’m trying to not really think about it and just focus on my training and not really what I have done, but what I want to do,” Montague said.

His main goal for the next year is training for the Olympic trials coming up this summer and maintaining his spot at the University of Michigan.

Fodell said he thinks Montague has a chance at making it to the Olympics.  

“Four years at a college like Michigan can do a lot of good for a swimmer.  I believe he could have a shot, and there will be no one cheering more for him if he does,” Fodell said via email.

Because Montague just committed to the University of Michigan a few weeks ago, he said he feels like he still needs to earn his spot on the team.

Montague said, “I don’t want to take a year off of training hard. I just want to keep getting faster and not take any steps backwards.”

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