SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Christian Booth and Sophie Wiener have been swimming alongside each other on the CHRISTUS Swim team for nearly eight years.
Both high school seniors have become highly recruited swimmers and have been able to shave seconds off their swim times due to a new addition to their practice swimming lanes.
CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier and our area Children’s Miracle Network Hospital donated starting blocks that were installed at LSU-Shreveport’s pool on campus, which is where the swim team practices.
The addition has helped many of the team’s swimmers learn how to start from a position that would be normal at the collegiate level, translating into better numbers on the scoreboard. “It’s been amazing,” said Wiener, a Caddo Magnet senior. “We’ve never had starting blocks. Each level that you move up in swimming that becomes more and more obvious because sometimes a good start is all you need to get your cut or get into finals versus not getting to finals.”
CHRISTUS Swim head coach Angie Carter knows firsthand how important any little advantage can be to a swimmer’s time.
“They need to be up on blocks learning how to dive into the water and be able to race from that position than just standing on the side of the pool," she said. "It’s just a crucial part of the sport.”
Booth and Wiener have seen a lot of attention from college scouts in recent months and have become some of the state’s top swimmers.
“Christian has been swimming with CHRISTUS since he was 10-years-old so he is a committed swimmer. He loves the sport. He’s up at 5 a.m. some mornings for practice. He swims every single day of the week. He’s a great teammate. He has no fear,” Carter said. “Sophie’s totally different. Christian’s a little more mellow and more laid back. Everything just kind of rolls. She’s passionate. She’s got plans. Whatever you ask her to do, if she can’t quite do it she wants to do it again.”
Wiener, who has been learning virtual from home during her senior year, said passionate is a good way to describe herself.
“I think to have a level of commitment to a sport like that you have to be pretty passionate. When you wake up at 5:00 in the morning and its cold outside and you have to get into a cold pool, you have to have a certain level of passion to do that.” Christian and Sophie both said they’ve yet to make a decision on where they will go to college but have gotten a number of offers from major colleges.
The CHRISTUS swim program has been able to go to many of these big meets where coaches can see these talented swimmers through donations to our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital.