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Young Trailblazer Nominee

Jadyn Phillips

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Nominations

Nominated By Scott Cohen

“Jadyn is a outstanding swimmer at Smoky Hill High School. She had a fantastic junior season at Smoky Hill, qualifying for the 5A State Championship meet in every individual swimming event (a very rare accomplishment). Her senior swim season is currently on hold until at least February, but Jadyn is still a positive role model and leader for her teammates during this time away from the pool.

My Black Colorado Interview

What school do you attend and what grade are you in?

I go to Smoky Hill High School, and I’m a senior this year.

What do you think others would say that they like most about you or they value most about you as a person?

I think you could say that they value how sympathetic I can be with their situations and how I’m just someone that they know that they can turn to whenever they have difficulties or need help with anything. I’m always there for them.

What do you enjoy being involved with when you aren’t in class?

In my free time over the summer and sometimes during the spring, I coach a neighborhood swim team. That’s one of my favorite things to do.

Tell me more about that.

There’s the competitive side that goes on year-round, which is club swimming. Then over the summer there’s something called Summer League that’s all the kids in neighborhoods that create a team. You can learn how to swim and compete but at a less competitive level than club swimming and they still get the full experience of it. Ages range from around five or six all the way up to the age of 18. I started on that team when I was five and I’ve been there ever since.

What is the best advice someone has given you recently?

Due to the covid-19 situation, my dad has been telling me to take it one day at a time. It’s okay to take it a little bit slower than usual. Before March, I was swimming every single day, traveling and competing for swimming, school events, babysitting, and going out with friends. When March came around, it put a halt to all my plans. I have never been without swimming for more than a couple of days, so it was very crazy and different for me. It’s been tough not being as busy but it’s also been a blessing in disguise because I’ve had the time to enjoy my life and reflect on myself. I’ve been taking it one day at a time instead of always pushing forward for the next thing.

What is one thing you want to get better at?

I want to be better at being more versatile for people because my experiences can be so limited sometimes, especially when friends come to me for sports. I only know swimming the best, so when I have other friends who wonder how to motivate themselves for soccer or something I don’t always have the right answer that they can relate to. So I want to get better at just being a better resource for people and not be so limited with my advice. I think that will come with interacting with more people, listening to their stories, and hearing what people are going through.

What do you think one piece of advice you think adults need to help them connect better with the younger generation?

Just sit down and listen to their stories. It’s easy to jump to simple conclusions, but not everyone’s story is the same. Not every solution that people are used to will always work for everyone.

What accomplishments or awards are you most proud of and why?

One accomplishment I’m proud of was in February 2020 for my swim season and I wasn’t able to compete for our city because I transferred high schools during my junior year. So it was a little difficult not to swim with the people I’m used to seeing, but I think it was enriching to sit down at a couple of meets and get to know some junior varsity swimmers and help them achieve their big goals. At one of our league meets, I was on a relay with them and it was the first time those girls were able to qualify the relay for the state. So I think that was important to them and I was super happy to help them accomplish such a big goal like that.

What impact have you made in the communities that you are most proud of and why?

Some of my coaches told me at the end of the season that I help push the girls to want to work a little bit harder in the pool and have a more positive outlook with what they’re doing and not be too hard on themselves. In swimming, it can be hard sometimes to get those big goals because it just takes a lot of training and sometimes you can barely miss that goal time you want. So they let me know that I was able to show the girls that it’s not always about the time, it’s just about the experience of how you’re having fun during it and even though you may not get those big goal times, it’s just about the attitude and what you bring to it.

What do you think you want to do for a career in the future?

I’m bouncing around with ideas. I definitely know I want to be in a field where I can help others and guide them. I’ve been thinking about being an elementary school teacher, staying kind of in the sports field and becoming like a physical therapist or something to help back to other people.

What impact has your family or your parents had in just the way you view life or sports?

They’ve been super supportive throughout the whole process. My parents forced me to do anything. They always made sure that I got to try anything that I wanted and then figure out for myself. When it came down to taking swimming or something like that, they’re always super supportive, you know, they made sure to guide me but didn’t make sure they didn’t have too much input on it. They always say we will be here and we will support whatever you do, but it’s up to you to learn from your choices and pick a value from them.

Is there anything else you would like to share that maybe you want our readers to know?

I would say just a general piece of advice for any aspiring athlete or any young person: you can pursue that goal as long as you keep at it. All of those obstacles are only there to make you stronger and to help keep you on track. Sometimes going towards the goal, you can lose sight of what you want. But obstacles can help you focus on what you want.

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