Brian Coleman is just 12-years-old and has only been a competitive swimmer for three years. Even so, he sounds like a coach’s dream. “I like being pushed by my coach and I like the people on my team,” he said. Coleman also enjoys beating his own personal best times. Currently a student at Marblehead Veterans Middle School, his school does not have a swim team, but if they did, Coleman said he would want to stay with his current team, the Sea Serpents at the JCC of the North Shore.
The Marbleheader qualified to compete at this year’s Eastern Zones Championships in East Meadow, N.Y. “I swam in every stroke,” said Coleman of the meet. He was selected as part of New England Swimming All-Star Team to compete alongside New England’s best young swimmers from other regions of the country during the first week of August.
“New England came in fourth this year overall,” said Coleman’s coach, Ashley Vieira. Vieira was also selected to attend as the New England Swimming girl’s coach. “The women’s team almost came in second,” she added.
Coleman was one of just 19 boys selected from all of New England to be part of this team. “New England swimming tries to put together the fastest team they can to compete against teams like Virginia,” said Vieira. She added with enthusiasm that Virginia is enormous, while New England is one of the smaller teams. “They did very well,” she said regarding New England.
Vieira has been coaching Coleman since he started on the team. “He’s extremely talented, he works really hard, and he puts in a lot of dedication,” said Vieira. Coleman attends two-and-a-half-hour swim practices five to six days a week.
Coleman worked closely with his coach to execute a plan to make it to the Eastern Zones competition. Early in the season, swimmers are given qualifying time standards that they must meet in order to apply and be selected for the championships. Vieira and Coleman looked at those times last winter and made a goal to be able to make those times and qualify to compete. “He worked really hard and qualified for quite a few of the cuts fairly early in the spring,” said Vieira. “It was a great experience for him, he got to swim with the fastest kids in New England.”
Coleman swam in six individual events; the 50 breast, 50 back, 50 free, 50 fly, 100 fly, 100 free. He also participated in three relays. “I came really close to making a final in the 50 fly,” said Coleman excitedly. He was only two-tenths of a second off.