Columbus High School swimmer Chase Parker had already accomplished quite a bit in the pool prior to his senior year. Despite the past achievements, Parker made sure his final year as a Blue Devil was one to remember.
Parker participated in the finals of four events at the state meet, two as an individual and two as part of a relay. He grabbed fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke and helped the Blue Devils claim ninth in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay to help the Columbus boys claim 12th in Class 4A.
Thanks to his efforts, Parker is the All-Bi-City Male Swimmer of the Year.
“It was great,” Parker said. “I went out the best I could even though I had a few hiccups along the way. Once I got to state, I really went all out."
Parker said he had some issues early on with his determination in large part due to the graduation of Northside’s Jacob Abeyta. Parker said the two had been swimming together for a long time, and their friendship and competitiveness pushed Parker to strive for greatness. If the two were in adjacent lanes, it was a sure bet they would contend for the event’s best times.
Eventually, Parker found the spark he needed on his own. That much was evident in the state meet at Georgia Tech, where he once again proved he could contend with the top swimmers in Georgia.
Among his accomplishments from the state meet, Parker said he was proudest of his effort in the breaststroke. Parker said he doesn’t spend any time on the stroke in practice, so finishing the race in 59.42 seconds was nothing short of a pleasant surprise.
Parker has been a key part on a Columbus swimming team that has begun to reach new heights. He said being part of history with the Blue Devils is special, just like all the time he’s spent as a member of the Columbus team.
“It’s meant a lot to me,” Parker said. “In club swimming, it’s less team oriented. When you get into high school swimming, it’s very team oriented. I think that helped me to be more of a leader amongst my friends and other swimmers.”
With his swimming career coming to a close, Parker is set to attend the University of North Georgia as part of the school’s ROTC program. Parker’s stint as a high school swimmer was an important one for the area, as he was among the top local swimmers who repeatedly garnered attention at state meets.
Parker knows all about the work he and these other local swimmers put in and said it gives him pride to see Columbus-area swimmers gain more recognition among the best of the best in Georgia.
“I’ve swam with a lot of them for a long time, and we’ve gone from not the fastest to now we’re some of the fastest in the state,” Parker said. “It does mean a lot to me.”