Swimming & Diving: Freshman record breaker makes waves in lanes

Ohio Bobcat freshman swimmer Addison Ferguson hangs out at the Ohio University Aquatic Center. Addy specialized in the backstroke and butterfly and swims both the 100-yard and 200-yard races of those strokes. (Emily Harger | For The Post)

Editors’ Note: This is the second part of weekly series detailing the impact of Ohio’s freshmen on the swimming and diving team.

When then-high school swimmer Addy Ferguson had narrowed her college choices down to Ohio and West Virginia, her mom had already made the decision for her — she would not go to Athens.

“My aunt used to teach there,” her mother had said. “It is out in the middle of the country, and it is a weird school.”

Ferguson changed her mother’s mind when visiting Athens for the first time. Her possible future teammates bonded with her right away, the coaching staff cared about her and if there was still a little bit of doubt left in her mind, Ohio’s campus completely convinced her.

If it hadn’t been for her recruitment trip, Ferguson would now be in West Virginia telling her story, and Ohio would have lost a record-breaking recruit.

When the Westfield Center native entered Cloverleaf High School in 2008, its swimming record board would never be the same again. Ferguson recorded six school records during her tenure and bettered them several times as well.

In 2010, she qualified for the state tournament, the first in program history, in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke. From then on, she dominated her competition in the pool. In the last two years she was unbeaten in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly races in dual meets.

Despite her impressive high school career, it wasn’t clear from the beginning that Ferguson would only go for a swimming career.

“I played basically every sport,” Ferguson said, adding that she started swimming at the age of seven or eight. “Swimming just stuck.”

Still, for years, swimming was just another sport among many. Ferguson actually planned on playing volleyball in high school, until her club coach intervened.

“He said that if I want to be great at one sport instead of being just good at a couple, I had to pick swimming,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson started training year-round. If she wasn’t with her high school team, she was with the Firestone Akron Swim Team. The club program offers one of the best swimming practices in the state — in the last 15 years, it had 10 state champions and 100 All-Americans

That’s the mentality Ferguson went through for four years. But sometimes, even she needed a break from swimming.

“During summer, I had two-a-days, but I always only went once,” Ferguson said. “I wish I would have pushed myself harder.”

Ohio coach Greg Werner realized early in the season that Ferguson was easily distracted from training.

“When she first got here,” Werner said, “she needed to improve quite a bit with her training habits.” Werner went on to talk about how Ferguson had to learn how to really practice. “It kept her from what we were trying to accomplish with her.”

Ferguson understood Werner’s message right away, as she is having the season of her life. She established herself as an essential part of the team, averaging nine points for the Bobcats every dual meet.

Individually, she’s successful too. At the Patriot Invitational in November, she improved her personal best in the 100-yard butterfly from 56.51 to 55.33 seconds.

“We’re most proud of her about how she matured,” Werner said about Ferguson’s progress.

And the season is not over yet. 

Ferguson strives to swim into the top three at the MAC championship and hopes to make the cut to have a chance to compete at the NCAA championships.

Werner knows she has the talent to make it; now, she just needs to push herself.

am794811@ohiou.edu

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