During his second consecutive 4A state swim meet, Inglemoor sophomore Noah Laird didn’t allow the heady atmosphere of the massive event rattle his nerves a bit like last season.
“I think this year, I was much more able to kind of channel all of the excitement into my racing and be a lot more pumped up and ready to go,” the Viking said of performing in front of a large crowd at the recent King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Laird unleashed his talent and placed sixth in both the 200-yard individual medley (1:56.63) and 500-yard freestyle (4:45.43). His 200 IM is a personal record and he notched a PR in the 500 prelims (4:44.94). Last year, he took sixth in both events at state.
On the day of the ‘A’ finals, Laird woke up ready to compete his hardest with some of the best swimmers in the state.
Laird said the 200 IM — which features the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle — takes heaps of grit and swimmers have to work on every single stroke, focus on technique and possess tons of discipline.
The grueling 500 free lasts 20 laps and here’s some of Laird’s insight into the experience:
“I think just seeing the people outside of the pool cheering you on. In most swims, you can’t really hear anything, in the 500 you can hear everyone, all the crowd screaming and it’s really kind of motivating to just keep pushing through the pain, I guess.”
Along with his Inglemoor workload, Laird has been swimming at WAVE Aquatics for six years and follows in the aquatic footsteps of his brother Aidan, who swims at Whitman College.
Laird feels at peace when he dives into the water.
“It’s very different from many sports, because even if you’re having a rough day, you can get in the pool and it’s just you and your thoughts. You’re just kind of all alone. It’s kind of a good form of therapy for me, I think,” he said.
The Reporter asked Laird a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Talent only gets you so far and that hard work is what really gets you far in life.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
It’s “Hot Rod,” it’s a smaller movie by Andy Samberg and it’s a comedic movie, it just makes me laugh every time I watch it a lot.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
It’s in Bothell, Stack 571. It’s a kind of new burger place and my family and I go there all the time. It’s just really good, and they have really good milkshakes.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Caeleb Dressel (swimmer). He’s just super versatile, he’s just breaking all of the records and he’s super humble about everything, and I think it would be nice to understand his thought process behind everything and how he handles stress of all these expectations he has after coming off of college.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When I listen to people complaining about having to wake up at 8 o’clock on weekends when I’m waking up at 4:50 to go to swim practice. It’s like, I’d be happy to wake up at 8 o’clock.
What’s a special skill you’d like to learn?
I’d really like to be fluent in another language because I think it would just allow for so many connections, you could go so many more places and have fun there (and it would be easier to communicate).
What super power would you like to have?
Teleportation or flight, because I think it would just be cool to be able to just go anywhere whenever you want.