Diving in for the 200 individual medley is apropos for Nick McFeeters—both in swimming and his life.
The Ewing High School sophomore dives into whatever activity he’s doing—and there’s a lot, between his athletic, musical and academic demands.
“If I’m getting into anything, a sport or anything, I try to learn a lot of different things within that activity,” said McFeeters.
McFeeters is also a center fielder for the Ewing baseball team, and he does marching band, jazz band and pit orchestra.
“I do a lot of musical stuff,” McFeeters said. “I think it meshes together quite well. Music is more of an academic type thing. Swim is athletic. It’s good to have both academic and athletic extracurricular activities.”
The IM combines two laps each of all four swim strokes in a perfect show of his versatility. McFeeters powered to a win in the 200 IM in the Ewing boys swim team’s loss to Robbinsville on Dec. 12. He has swum just about every event in his year plus on the Blue Devils team.
“I’m pretty versatile,” McFeeters said. “I actually did swim the 500 last year. The person who usually swims it wasn’t there and I was happy to swim it. The only thing I haven’t swum is the back and a couple of the freestyle events because I’m more of a medley, different kinds of strokes, not just freestyle swimmer.”
McFeeters is versatile when it comes to music side as well. He plays trombone for the band, he can play piano and is learning guitar.
McFeeters even adds some variety when it comes to his teammates. While he swims for Ewing in the winter, he competes in the summers for Ben Franklin Swim Club and intends to do the same again this year over the option of playing American Legion baseball.
“It’s none of the same kids,” McFeeters said. “Ben Franklin is in Lawrence, so it’s a whole different team. It’s different races as well. Instead of longer races, it’s all sprint races and relays. It’s different.”
The variety keeps things fresh for McFeeters, who is happy to see some fresh faces joining the Blue Devils team this year. Ewing is enjoying its largest turnout ever for head coach Erin Devlin—21 girls and 10 boys. Almost half of them are new to the team.
“This is probably the most coachable group I’ve had,” Devlin said. “They’re up to the challenges of swimming new events and doing harder sets in practices. ”
The increased numbers have raised the spirits of the team. They are competing more and enjoying their healthier numbers.
The Ewing boys lost their first four meets, but the Blue Devils have been better than in recent times. For one, they can field more than one relay team and their increased depth has helped them fill lanes.
“It makes me feel more motivated,” McFeeters said. “There’s still a low chance of winning, but it definitely feels like I have more of a team behind me to cheer me on and stuff like that.”
McFeeters used to swim year-round club for Eastern Express, which also swims out of Ewing’s home pool at The College of New Jersey. He stopped swimming year-round just as he was preparing to jump into high school. In his first season, he was among the top two scorers for the Blue Devils.
McFeeters would swim any event that the Blue Devils asked, but Devlin has needed his talents most in the IM and the butterfly. Last year’s performances gave her confidence in his ability to help the team across the board, and he’s picked up where he left off.
“Nick came in last year as a freshman and came in with some competitive swimming experience,” Devlin said. “It was nice to have someone come in with some experience. I think last year he was our second-highest point scorer. This year, he’s already our highest point scorer for the boys.”
Seeing the numbers grow in his short time at Ewing is a big plus. It gives the team versatility in individual events and allows the Blue Devils to put together more than one relay.
“We haven’t had that in a while, so it’s nice to have those numbers back up,” Devlin said. McFeeters did not have pre-season training, but after a couple of weeks he felt right back to where he left off last year. He is hoping to continue to improve his results as the Blue Devils continue with their Colonial Valley Conference schedule that includes some of the top teams in the state.
He is also hoping to drop his sprint times because that would ultimately help the relay teams go faster. With McFeeters setting a strong example, the Ewing is hopeful its team will improve significantly over the final two months.
“After seeing results from our West meet, which would have been closer but we had a couple DQs that have been corrected ever since then, we are optimistic,” Devlin said. “Nottingham is coming up next week on Thursday. That should be a very good meet for us. I’m looking forward to that meet. Our last meet of the season, we end with Trenton. Every year, that’s our biggest one of the year. Hopefully we’ll be able to end with a win this year.”