In this edition of Reed Between the Lines: Grafton Gators’ Swimmer Payton England
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Payton and I’m 18 years old. I graduated this May from Grafton High School where I participated in cheerleading and swimming all four years. I can be shy but I’m very competitive when it comes to sports. I have big plans for my future, and I can’t wait to continue working towards them.
When did you first decide you that wanted to get involved with swimming?
When I was about 8, my sister was already on the team, and I remember thinking “I kind of want to try that,” but I was too scared. During one meet I was basically thrown into the pool while crying my eyes out. But after that first race was all said and done, I fell in love with it.
Who is your favorite sports hero and why?
Peyton Manning. I feel like he’s one of the most genuine and respected athletes there is, and that’s the type of person I hope to be.
What are your college plans?
I will be attending WVU in the fall and majoring in Biology. After earning my B.S. I plan to attend medical school and eventually go into pediatric orthopedics.
What is your favorite movie about sports?
Remember the Titans.
What is the most bizarre question you have ever been asked by someone about swimming?
Even though the high school swim season is in the winter, so many people ask me, “do you guys swim outside?” or “do you swim in the lake or what?”
What is the one thing you always do after winning a big sporting event?
Go get a hug from my mom and a fist bump from my dad. It’s kind of our thing.
What advice would you give to kids who are aspiring swimmers?
You can do anything you set your mind to so never give up on yourself. Always be proud of doing your best. You are stronger and more capable than you realize. No matter what you’re doing, make sure you’re having fun doing it. Most importantly, CONFIDENCE IS KEY.
What are your best and worst memories in athletics?
Some of my best memories are making it to states with my relay team my sophomore year, being coached by both my mom and my dad, and hitting a perfect routine at Big Ten for cheerleading. Not to mention the coaches, teammates, and so many others that I’ve been blessed to share those memories with.
My worst memories are any of the times I had an off day and didn’t live up to my expectations.
If you could be a successful professional athlete in any sport, what would it be?
Probably swimming because the completion would be crazy, and that’s my favorite part about it. I’d also get to meet all kinds of different people and travel all around the world to compete.
What one word or phrase do you think describes you?
You have participated in a few different sports. Which one is/was your favorite?
Probably cheerleading because there are two completely different parts of it: games & competitions. I really loved that through the football season, competition season, and basketball season, I was able to cheer for the majority of the year, travel with the teams, and experience so many amazing things.
Where is your favorite away venue to play a sport?
The old Stealey pool for swimming and Philip Barbour for cheerleading.
Would you rather compete at Grafton City Pool or somewhere else? Does it matter?
Absolutely Grafton City Pool. I’ve always felt like swimming at your home pool definitely matters. Everyone feels more comfortable there and I LOVE the atmosphere. Home meets are always the best.
What would you say to a teammate who is really struggling to perform on a particular day?
You’re capable of so much more than you think. The struggle will be worth it because when you get through this, you’ll be so proud. I believe in you, so now you must believe in yourself just as much.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Making my goals a reality. Settled down, starting out as a doctor and living in my own place.
What do you think you do well as an athlete?
I think I’m very good at being optimistic and looking for the positive in every situation. Whatever you’re doing, you won’t always be the best, so you must focus on just being better than YOUR previous best. The most important things to me are making memories, building relationships, and bettering yourself. I don’t think too many people have that outlook, but it’s what always gets me through.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t really understand swim meets?
It’s kind of like track, but you’d have to be there.
Give me one word to describe your father, head coach Todd England.
Hardworking or lovable.
What did you think of these questions?
I am insanely indecisive, so deciding on answers for a lot of them was difficult, but I really enjoyed it!
*Each week the Mountain Statesman features a coach or player from a different Taylor County sport. We hope you enjoy the chance to learn a little bit more about them.