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Athlete of the Month Swimmer gives back to sport

Poughkeepsie High School Junior Linsay Perez was named September’s Athlete of the Month and keeps her head afloat while being on the school’s team, volunteering and keeping up on her schoolwork.

Perez, who joined the swim team during the 2020-2021 season, was surprised but happy to learn that coach Galen Franchek recognized her talent.

“I never expected to get an athletic award,” Perez said. “I’m happy to receive it.”

The solo nature of the sport is what Perez likes best about swimming, but she is always encouraged to go farther when she sees her teammates swimming beside her.

“You only depend on yourself,” Perez explained. “The competitive part is thrilling.”

The girls swim team has a reputation for cheering on competing teams and Perez gladly joins in because every encouraging word is an energy booster when doing laps.  

“It’s really grueling,” she said. “When you’re doing whatever race it is, you definitely want to know that people are rooting for you.”

Perez’s love of swimming extends beyond school – this summer she volunteered her time by giving free lessons to underprivileged children through the Boys & Girls Club of Poughkeepsie. “Swim lessons are normally a lot of money,” Perez said. “We were able to give back to low-income minority families.”

Perez takes her education seriously and her goals for the year include keeping her grades in the 90’s range and passing Advanced Placement exams in U.S. history and literature. She is also working toward getting her lifeguard certification.

“I’m doing well in all my classes so far,” she said.

For any student interested in swimming, Perez recommends joining the team because it is a great chance to advance in the sport, even if one never swam before.

“It’s a really great opportunity and it opens a lot of doors,” Perez said.

For Franchek, achievements by students are measured by character, not just the clock that they race against. She nominated Perez for her work ethic and her fantastic swimming ability - including swimming 20 laps straight doing 100 yards of the butterfly stroke.

“She is the first to get into the water and the last to the leave the pool at practice – swimming extra laps to improve her strokes,” Franchek said. “Linsay was nominated Junior Captain this year for all the hard work she puts into swimming and for leading by example with her kindness and teamwork.”