As goalkeeper of the Brainerd Warrior boys' soccer team Josiah Collins is the last line of defense. He uses his hands, feet and quickness, as well as athleticism, to dive and jump, to prevent balls from reaching the back of the net.
In the winter Collins transfers many of those skills to the swimming pool where he has been one of the top performers for the Warrior boys' swimming and diving team this season.
"For soccer I worked on my vertical a lot," Collins said. "That can also help in swimming, on starts and flip turns."
Josiah Collins has four wins in individual events this season.
Collins has started this swimming season with victories in four individual events, primarily the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, and in seven relays, helping Brainerd to a 3-0 record in dual meets.
In five total meets, he has competed in only five events that didn't finish first.
Warriors coach John Zemke said Collins is bigger and stronger than he was last year and seems to be figuring out how to race.
"He's also got a better game plan when the race starts -- what he's going to do here, what splits he wants to hit," Zemke said. "He makes sure he has a plan, not swim as hard as he can, run out of gas and everybody passes you. He's thinking about strategy more than he used to.
"That comes with maturity. He's older, he's been swimming a long time. It takes time to figure it out."
Collins has won the 200 freestyle once and the 500 twice. He often is one of the first swimmers in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.
Events: 200- and 500-yard freestyles, 200 and 400 free relays
Weight: 160 pounds
Other sports: Soccer, tennis
Memorable sports achievement: Finishing third at section meet in 500 free as freshman
Grade-point average: 3.86
Favorite subjects: Choir, orchestra
Favorite food: Chocolate
Favorite movie: Lord of the Rings
Hobbies: Bowling, watching movies
Future plans: Attend college, major in vocal music
Athlete he admires: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps
Parents: Cahil and Michele Collins
"As the season progresses the 200 free gets to be more and more of an all-out sprint," Collins said. "Where we are in the season I'm trying to start pacing myself. I've been taking it out pretty fast. The last 50 you give whatever you have left. In the 500 you pretty much try to pace yourself, keep your (50-yard splits) as consistent as possible. The last 100 you give it your all."
Zemke said Collins is ahead of the pace he set last season.
"His 200 free times are as fast as they've ever been at midseason," Zemke said. "He's ahead of where he was last year in the 200, the same with his 500 free times. He's only three seconds off his lifetime best in the 500."
Zemke said Collins is a smarter swimmer and is handling the rigors of practice better.
"When you're younger sometimes it's difficult to keep it going for 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 yards at practice," Zemke said. This year Josiah's handling that much better."
Other notable efforts:
Maggie Freiday, gymnastics, tied for first on vault in the Warriors' holiday invitational.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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