JP Beach is a determined swimmer this spring after watching the Class 5A state swimming championships a year ago.
Beach, a senior at Douglas County High School, was ninth in the 50 freestyle as a sophomore at the Colorado State swimming championships. He was 11 in the 100 freestyle in 2012 and was primed for a podium finish last spring.
However, after collapsing in the locker room a few days before the state meet, he was relegated to being a student assistant coach for the Castle View swim team (comprised of both CVHS and Douglas County students) at the state meet.
“Last year, three days before state I passed out and hit the corner of a bench, knocked five teeth out of my jaw and I broke my jaw and broke my nose,” recalled Beach. “I had 28 stitches. I was ineligible to swim.
“It was because of overtraining mostly. I got the stomach flu and I didn’t know it. I was in the bathroom before practice and I got really dehydrated. I didn’t know what was going on. I passed out, got up and I needed to go to my coach and say, `hey, I’m not feeling well.’ I blacked out and from then on I didn’t remember.”
Beach hasn’t overdone his preparation this season.
“I’ve learned,” said Beach. “Overtraining is a big deal. You can’t really shake it off. There’s a certain point where you can see that you can over train. At that point, you have to take a step back and reevaluate your training.”
Beach, a 6-foot-5 sprinter who has accepted a scholarship to swim at the University of Arizona, has recorded the fastest times in the state this season in the 50 and 100 freestyle events according to statistics compiled on cohsswimanddive.blogspot.com.
In the 50, Beach touched up in 20.96 seconds at the Lightning Invite and his 46.23 in the 100 during the same meet is also the quickest chronicled this spring.
In addition, he has the team’s fastest times in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and as the anchor swimmer on the 400 and 200 freestyle relay teams. He has also swum on the 200 medley relay foursome.
“So far it’s gone pretty well,” said Beach. “I’ve had a few injuries that have set me back but so far I’ve recovered pretty quickly. Nothing too big, nothing too serious. I’m training with my club team (Denver Swim Academy) right now and swimming for my high school.”
Castle View/Douglas County coach Tim Byers claims Beach is one of Colorado’s top swimmers.
“JP has been a top sprinter in Colorado probably for the past three years,” said Byers. “He’s a special kid. He’s more dedicated to swimming. The last two seasons he’s emerged in national events.
“He swims everything but sprints are the events he’s most competitive in. He holds every record on our team. He is progressing as a well-rounded swimmer. He’s a competitive racer. He hits the water and it’s `go.’”
Beach has set lofty goals for this season.
“I always look forward to the high school season,” confessed Beach. “Most of the time I don’t get to do relays. This is the one time of the year I get to be a part of a team. When you are traveling to nationals and traveling all over the country, I’m on a small group where you can’t do relays.
“The season has gone great. I’m looking forward to state and really ending the season strong. My biggest goal is the break the high school state record. ... I really hope to bring in firsts for the 50 and 100 at state.”
Being a swimmer with the last name of Beach, JP admits he gets teased a lot and he asks his teammates not to call out his last name during races for a different reason.
“I really ask the guys not to yell my name out, my last name at least, when I’m on the blocks,” he said. “When everybody starts yelling it, it doesn’t sound like the right words coming out.
“Last year really hurt that I was hurt before state. I really kind of messed up our relays and that was kind of our breakout year. We had our strongest swimmers; our strongest possible year was last year. I couldn’t be a part of that. This year I came in fired up. I’ve set my goals and working hard every day.”