Poston Pritchett: A blue-chip investment
Most members of the UT Men's Swimming Team will have the same answer when asked why they chose Texas over all of their other options, and it's only two words: Eddie Reese.
For senior Poston Pritchett, the answer is the same, but for him, there was more to UT than just the added bonus of training under Reese in a program that has produced numerous Olympians.
"The school had very good academics to go along with a very good swim team," Pritchett said. "And, the chance to swim with Eddie Reese was something I couldn't pass up. Swimming had always been a dream of mine and I thought I could do it best here."
The balance between academics and athletics was something that the Durham, N.C., native searched for when looking for a place to pursue his collegiate swimming career. In addition to Texas, he took official recruiting trips to Stanford and Princeton before finding his place among the Longhorns.
A team captain and history major with pre-med identification, Pritchett knows about discipline and what it takes to succeed in the pool and out.
"At this school, on this team, you can't take anything for granted," Pritchett said. "The people who came before us and the people that are here now accomplished what they did through hard work, both in the classroom and the pool."
Pritchett, a sprint freestyle specialist, trains for nearly 20 hours a week in hopes of dropping a few hundredths of a second at the end of the season, an idea that may seem crazy to those outside the swimming world.
"Swimming is a sport with a lot of hard work for an unknown payoff," Pritchett said. "If you can come to grips with that and still pursue it will all your heart, and you can apply that to the rest of your life, it makes it very easy to chase your goals and ambitions."
While training in search of that unknown payoff every year, the people with whom you work are important. For Pritchett, a close team means a better team.
"He has always been there for his teammates," said assistant coach Kris Kubik. "He's the kind of person who will remain life-long friends with each of them."
Pritchett supports his teammates, but he thinks the help he gives is less important compared to the people who work with UT Athletics.
"The best part of being a UT student-athlete is the unwavering support of everybody involved in what you do," Pritchett said. "From the academic staff, the counselors and mentors, to the people who work at the pool and the dining hall, and the professors who help you, everybody at UT seems to understand and help you accomplish those goals."
While he hands out praise to the people who help athletes, Pritchett has done his share in helping The University in return. He is currently the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, a group of UT student-athletes that works to help the community and discuss issues pertaining to student athletes. He also represented Texas at the 2005 NCAA Leadership Conference.
"He's very responsible, and that makes him successful at whatever he does," Reese said.
His success in and out of the classroom is obvious, as he was one of several Longhorn swimmers that were named to the First Team Academic All Big 12 for the 2006-2007 season, which requires students to have at least 3.20 GPA.
"I feel strongly that the compassion he shows for the sport and his team will translate well into his future," Kubik said.
As his swimming career comes to a close in the coming weeks with the Big 12 Championship in February and NCAA Championships in March, Pritchett looks toward the next step in his life. He will graduate in May and plans to take the MCAT test in the next six months. He hopes to start medical school in August 2008.
"If you could buy stock in a person, I would buy stock in Poston," said Kubik. "It would be a blue-chip investment."