Wood sets example in and out of the pool

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Sophomore swimmer Patrick Wood has a work ethic in the pool and in the classroom that surpasses anyone that coach Jacqueline Michalski has ever seen, she said.

When he is in the pool, he will always do more than what is asked of him, and more than what the team has to do.

“He always will go above and beyond whatever is asked of him,” Michalski said. “If I say do at least a 200 (yard) cool down at the end he’ll do 300 yards. He always just wants to do more.
When the Panthers are in practice, Michalski some times will tell the team to choose to do something and Wood will choose something difficult. The swimmers will usually choose a type of drill.
For Wood, the biggest thing he learned in coming to Eastern as a swimmer and as a student was learning how to fail, he said.

“When I first came here, the first week of practice, I was trying to go with the fastest group interval and I couldn’t hit the times,” Wood said. “It just kind of shows you that you have to take a step back and work one day at a time.”

Taking everything one day at a time relates to everything in life for Wood. The change from high school to college was a big difference.

“You screw up on your first test, you got to go back and figure it out,” Wood said. “Just like in the pool, you’re not making the set one day, you go to figure out if it’s your diet or whatever you should change to figure out how to get better.”

At the beginning of the season, Wood had to deal with some blood sugar issues, which kept him from swimming they way he wanted to.

Wood felt tired and fatigued throughout his races, and it took some time to figure out what was causing it. The solution for Wood was to get a better diet.

The Panthers were able to go home for two weeks over winter break and train with club and high school teams, which helped Wood get back to where he wanted to be.

“I think that was good to kind of mentally regroup,” Wood said. “Coming back I kind of had a more positive mind set and I was more excited and started to enjoy it again. I started putting up better times and I’ve been happy with that so far.”

Since Wood has got his blood sugar straightened out, he has become a much better swimmer, Michalski said.

At the beginning of the season, Wood was in the middle of the row for the butterfly swimmers on the team, but now he is right up at the top as the team’s top “flier.”

It would be expected that Wood’s work ethic goes into his training, which has made the difference.

Although Wood was not able to keep up with the fastest interval when he first came into Eastern, he has made it there now and is posting much faster times.

Wood’s strength as a person and strength physically is what contributes to his work ethic, Michalski said.

“He’s really been focusing on doing everything right and that takes a really strong person to do,” Michalski said. “I don’t think I can say it enough that he does the right thing and that is really exciting as a coach to have on your team.”

But when swimmers have the strength that Wood has physically, their bodies get more beat up and can have a harder time posting faster times in season.

Michalski said for Wood, having a positive outlook to go along with his work ethic will get him even faster times.
The Panthers will be tapering the next two weeks before conference, which will really help Wood get rested and have a great conference meet.

Wood connected learning how to fail with having a positive outlook for meets and schoolwork.

Sophomore Patrick Wood, will be swimming the 400 yard individual medley, and the 200 yard butterfly events at conference. Wood has also maintained a 4.0 GPA through his first three semesters.
Sophomore Patrick Wood, will be swimming the 400 yard individual medley, and the 200 yard butterfly events at conference. Wood has also maintained a 4.0 GPA through his first three semesters.

“When you have all these failures in the sport you have to figure out how to pick your head up and keep going,” Wood said.

Wood will be swimming the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly events at the Summit League Conference meet Feb. 17-20.

Throughout the regular season, Wood competed in butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle events to help him be better in the individual medley event. The 400-individual medley has each of those strokes in it.

Wood’s work ethic has paid off in the pool and also in the classroom, as he as posted a 4.0 GPA in each of his first three semesters at Eastern.

It is difficult for anyone to get the highest possible GPA, but Wood has done it as a member of Honors College and majoring in athletic training with a pre-medication concentration.

“It’s really busy,” Wood said. “But with swimming it gives me a schedule so it helps me keep myself organized. Jacqueline (Michalski) is really good with helping me stay on top of my academics.”

He added that it is true for the whole team since Michalski came at the start of last season.

“When she came in, it’s kind of changed the culture with GPA,” Wood said.

Last year, the men’s GPA was not very high but Michalski worked with them and have raised their GPA and it is something that Wood is proud of, he said.

Wood will have two weeks of tapering before he and the rest of the Eastern swimmers travel to Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis for the Summit League Conference meet.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]