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Senior captain Evan Laughlin enjoyed competing for the Greater New Haven Warriors co-op swim squad in the team’s first season of existence. (Photo courtesy of Evan Laughlin )
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A couple of years ago, Evan Laughlin was interested in trying out a new sport, so he signed up to compete for the boys’ swimming team at Guilford High School. Evan liked swimming so much that he stayed with the team for the next three seasons, capping off his career with a solid senior campaign this year.
Guilford joined forces with athletes from East Haven, North Branford, and North Haven to form the Greater New Haven (GNH) Warriors co-op boys’ swimming and diving squad in the 2019-’20 season. As a senior captain, Evan helped the Warriors finish with a record of 8-2, win the SCC Division 2 title, and then take fifth place at the SCC Championship.
“My favorite aspect of the sport is the competition. It gets very intense during some of our meets, especially during the ones with rivals,” says Evan. “My favorite moment from the season was when our coach [Martha Phelan] jumped into the water, because we all said we’d donate $10 to the Lion Heart Fund [for cancer research] if she did so.”
Evan met Coach Phelan at GNH’s first preseason meeting last fall. Right away, Phelan noticed that Evan appreciated being part of the newly formed team. Evan and fellow Guilford students Aidan Henry and Dan Kamen were three of the six captains who led Phelan’s squad.
“I was struck by Evan’s sincere gratitude for this new team endeavor. Evan was extremely courteous in and out of the pool, a super captain, and a pleasure to coach,” Phelan says. “Evan was designated to be the music man, providing a list of songs to be played during practice. And his playlist created great energy for sure.”
Evan enjoyed working with Phelan throughout the season. Evan says that Phelan’s approach to coaching played a huge part in helping GNH claim its division crown.
“Martha is a great leader. She puts the intensity into the right spots and is able to guide us to destroy our stopping points,” Evan says. “I think she played a major role in our team becoming SCC Division 2 champions.”
Evan spent hours upon hours in the pool each week in order to perfect his performance in the sprints. He also worked on maintaining a positive mindset during the Warriors’ meets. Evan primarily swam the 50 freestyle and also competed in some relays for GNH. Evan’s best time in the 50 free this year was 24.81 seconds, which he achieved at the SCC Championship Qualifying meet.
“Most of swimming is mental. To improve my game, a lot of time goes into forging a productive mindset,” says Evan. “But the rest of the time goes into the pool, about 10 hours a week this season.”
Outside of the pool, Evan enjoys playing basketball, going to the gym, and spending time with his friends and family. Evan has also been making music and educating himself about how he can use his actions to benefit the people around him.
“I like to keep an open mind,” Evan says. “I want to try and live a life that helps and will continue to help others.”
In the fall, Evan will be attending the University of Arizona, where he is going to major in psychology. Evan has aspirations of joining the school’s water polo squad, so he can continue creating more positive memories in the water, just like he did with his teams at Guilford.
“I’m mostly looking forward to making connections and the nice warm weather out there,” says Evan. “I enjoyed my time with Greater New Haven, and I’m going to miss the team a lot.”
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