Time spent in the pool paying off for GHS’s Willam Angus

Will Angus cuts through the water in the 200IM, during the Mountaineer Fall Classic.

TAYLOR COUNTY— In April 2021, as a sophomore, Grafton High School’s (GHS) elite swim team member William “Will” Angus made a name for himself as the first-ever male Bearcat swimmer to compete in the West Virginia State Meet. 

During the state meet, Angus made a splash in a big way, recording a new school record and personal best time in the 100-yard backstroke. He went into the competition’s final heat seeded eighth and finished ninth overall. 

In addition, he also swam a personal best school record in the 200-yard IM race, finishing in a time of 2:30.22, three spots from his original seeding. And because of his performance at states, Grafton High School was listed among the scoring teams and therefore finished 24th in the state in swimming. 

  In May 2021, Angus was named to the All-Big Ten Conference Boys Second Team for his outstanding season-long performances, and he is not finished yet. 

“A few years ago, Will decided to give up a sport that he had been doing since he was very young, to try swimming for the first time.  He fell in love with this sport and hasn’t looked back since,” shared GHS Head Coach Heather England.

Now a junior at GHS, Angus is committed to bettering himself in the art of swimming, any chance he gets. While many have taken the last several months as their off-season, Angus has no off season, as he has continued to hit the pool, working to improve his times with every stroke. 

When the Bearcats are in their offseason, Angus continues to swim for a club in Morgantown and recently competed in the prestigious Mountaineer Fall Classic. 

The Mountaineer Fall Classic is a large-scale event, hosting 15 different teams from across the state of West Virginia, along with teams from Pennsylvania and Ohio, bringing over 100 competitors to the pool. 

Angus took to the pool in the 100 backstroke against 21 opponents. Cutting through the water with speed and precision, he finished the race in eighth place, and did even better in the 200 back. 

For that event, Angus placed fifth out of 12 and went on to claim 13th in the 200 individual medley (IM), out of 22. 

Now that Grafton’s season has commenced, Angus revealed that he will continue taking to the pool in Morgantown, as well as with his Bearcats team.

“In an effort to stay in my best physical condition, I am practicing both in Morgantown and Grafton. My practice schedule in Morgantown is eight practices a week; six evening practices (Monday-Saturday) and two morning practices (5:00-6:30 a.m.) on Mondays and Thursdays, so I try to be up there as much as I can,” Angus shared. 

Coach England believes his dedication to the sport comes from Angus being a challenger at heart saying, “Will is a true competitor and does everything he can to continue to get better. He is up and on the road early in the morning before school, to go to club practice an hour away, and then in the evenings after school he is with us at AB for high school practices.” 

Angus further revealed that the Bearcats have four pool practices per week spanning Monday through Thursday. 

“I try to go to as many club practices as I can as long as they don’t conflict with my high school practice times because as team captain for GHS swim, my priority is swimming for the high school first and supplementing club swim in Morgantown,” he commented. 

And the swimmer has started his junior season as a Bearcat off as strong as ever. 

Wednesday evening, the Bearcats opened their season with a meet at Davis and Elkins College, against Elkins and Liberty High Schools. 

Angus represented Grafton in the 200IM where he earned a second-place finish. He also competed in the 100back during the opening meet and swam his way to the top to claim first-place in the event, which assisted his team to their first team win on the season, as the Bearcats took second overall. 

“I announced to the team earlier this week that Will has earned his spot as ‘team captain’ this year, and I emphasized it wasn’t just because he is a great swimmer,” shared England.

She explained that Angus earned this title by proving he can be a leader and that she is able to rely on him a lot throughout the season.  

“He has his eye on states again, and for him it’s not just about ‘qualifying’ this year. He intends to be on the podium.  I have no doubt that goal is within his reach,” she voiced.

Spending most of his time in the water, Angus will soon compete in the Speedo Invitational, an esteemed meet in which contenders must be invited. 

“To get an invite was really cool because the invites are based on previous qualifying times,” he expressed. 

He went on to say that he is looking forward to his season ahead with GHS and is planning to give his best effort in order to make it back to the state meet this year.

In addition, Angus is hoping that his story and his passion for swimming will ignite an interest within others to get involved in the high school’s program and encourage the area’s youth to take up the sport with the local youth team, the Grafton Gators, which he plans to be a big part of. 

“I also plan on coaching the Grafton Gators swim team this summer,” he disclosed. “I have been working closely with the head coach who is stepping away from the program. It is my hope to use the things that I have learned from swimming in Morgantown, in conjunction with the high school, and apply those to the Grafton Gators, as well as attending various swim camps to assist further growth to the swim program in Taylor County!”

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