My Swimming History

I started swimming when I was four years old. I continued swimming in the summer and the winter. I was a swimming for USS year round, While swimming with The Hampton Swim Team during the summer, till I turned 18 years old and became too old to swim competively in the Summer and Winter. Swimming was something that I always liked to do and I hope to do it again someday!

Below are some of the articles written during my Senior year of Highschool / Last year of Swimming

Catholic Review Article Written My Senior Year of Swimming in Highschool

There is an .I. in team By George P. Matysek Jr. Review staff correspondent Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Middle River doesn't have a swimming pool. There are no swim coaches, no aquatics programs and not even a hint of chlorine in the air. Yet, strange but true, Mount Carmel does have a men's varsity swim team. His name is Chris Popp and the 18-year-old senior just took home a first-place medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's swim meet held in late February at Loyola Blakefield in Towson. For the one-man swim team, claiming the top prize with a time of 55.02 means that he has kept his end of a bargain he struck early on in his high school swimming career with Mike Naughton, Mount Carmel's athletic director. "I told him I'd like to see if we can get a banner for the school," said Chris, a four-year varsity swim team member. "He said, .If you get first place, I'll give you a banner and I'll give you a jacket.." By graduation day, Chris will see Mount Carmel's first-ever championship swim banner raised to the rafters of the school gym. Featuring the blue and gold of the Mount Carmel Cougars, the banner will bear Chris. name and leave room for future champions. "I can come back for a class reunion when I have my big gut and (point to the banner) and say, .That was me; I did that,." Chris said with a laugh. A competitive swimmer since he was a toddler, Chris has been a longtime member of a club team at the Knights of Columbus Orchard based at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson. That's where the parishioner of St. Ursula in Parkville practices at least six days a week under the direction of his coach, Arthur Hucht. While his best stroke has always been the backstroke, Chris also competes in the 50-meter freestyle, placing fourth in the MIAA meet. "When I'm swimming, basically I try not to think about anything," said Chris. "I try to focus on my stroke, doing everything right as best as I can and just go all out." Unlike most swimmers, Chris relies on a "double-arm pull" backstroke that has been the secret to his success. The technique allows him to use both arms at the same time to propel his body rather than the standard single-arm pull, which relies on one arm at a time. "With a double-arm pull, you're pushing more water at the same time so you get more thrust out of it," Chris explained. The tall, blond-haired senior acknowledged that it hasn't always been easy to be the only member of his team. Yearbook photos show him standing by himself, a scene that's become familiar at meets. "Sometimes it.s bugged me," said Chris, an extroverted young man who helps run Mount Carmel's carnivals, repairs sets for the theatre group and fixes his school's computers. "It's hard to go to a meet and all the kids sit with their teams talking and I can't sit with anybody," he said. "That's when it really gets to me." Yet the swimmer said he has felt strong support from his school. Linda Fannon, a Mount Carmel art teacher, designed a yellow and black team swim cap that features a roaring cougar. The athletic director, school administrators and others have also come out to watch him compete, he said. "I think he's a very hard-working, self-disciplined person," said Mr. Naughton. "He's taken the initiative to train on his own and he really concentrated on perfecting his stroke. He's very much a student of the sport." While he plans to be a lifelong swimmer, Chris said his big ambition now is to complete bachelor's and master's degree in computers. He's also considering the possibility of becoming a priest though he said he might marry and have children. Two years ago, he attended one of Cardinal William H. Keeler's vocation dinners for young men interested in the priesthood. "I think I'm still open to it. I just have to see how it unfolds," said Chris, whose faith life is strengthened by seeing the love expressed by a younger brother with Down syndrome. In the meantime, Chris said he is overjoyed that he is no longer the only swimmer at Mount Carmel. Jill Schneehagen, a sophomore, now represents the women of the school. "She's very good at distance swimming," said Chris, adding that he hopes Jill's and other names will eventually be added to the championship banner. "It's nice to have someone else recognized," he said. E-mail George Matysek at [email protected].

Article Written about my Last Meet

MIAA Article