By Nate San Nicolas
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Any young athlete’s dream is to compete at the highest competitive level possible; whether it would be playing for professional sports teams, besides legends, or at the Olympics against the greatest athletes from around the world.
Jagger Stephens is one of the many who strive to compete on the stage of elite athletes. Although he is found in a pool of dreamers, his determination and commitment set him apart from that big crowd.
At only 16 years old, the St. John’s student already has 11 Gold medals for swimming at 2014 Micronesian Games that took place this summer, and when you have enough medals to almost cover your neck, it was no surprise when he was announced Male Athlete of the Micro Games as well.
“It was a huge honor to represent our island in the Micronesian Games, but to be the Male Athlete of the Games is an even greater honor. A title that I’m blessed to be bestowed upon. To be called the Male Athlete is really a result of my hard work before and during the games,” said Jagger.
Those medals are only a glimpse of the the greatness this young buck is capable of pursuing. His talent is definitely there and his dedication to the sport shows every time he hits the water. Not many realize the sacrifices athletes like Jagger have to make in order to get to the stage he is at now. The workouts are gruesome and the results are minimal.
“The most difficult thing for me about being a swimmer at my level is dropping my times and getting faster. It’s very difficult mentally to train for a whole year and only drop like half a second, or even less,” exclaims Jagger when asked how his training is.
A whole year and only half a second shaved off your time? That’s the psychological wall Jagger is faced practically everyday, and that’s just only a small part of his day. Although he has eleven Gold Medals, he is still your normal high school teenager going to class early in the morning and staying up late working on homework. Pile that on to the regimen Jagger has in the pool, you have a week filled with exhaustion, frustration, and fatigue.
“Juggling school and sports is different for everyone, for me personally it’s a challenge. Sometimes I have to leave my swimming practice early to do homework or miss an entire practice completely. Juggling both to find the balance is key, but it can be difficult,” commented Jagger.
Despite the challenges faced, Jagger still continues to dream big in hopes to represent his island again two years from now in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. In 2016, Jagger will also be entering his freshman year in college, where he hopes to continue his swimming career competing at the collegiate level.
This athlete sets high goals for himself, whether it’s to compete in the Olympics or to become an orthopedic physician. But what sets him apart is that he works to achieve those goals. This young man carries the potential to be great, not just as an athlete, but as a person as well. Work ethic and determination are sound and on point with this kid, but what’s good is that Jagger still enjoys being a kid. When he’s not in the pool or and not doing homework, you can see Jagger either strumming the guitar or playing videogames.
Keep your ears and eyes open for the name Jagger Stephens, because if this young star continues working hard for what he wants, he will be making GSPN headlines and news articles for years to come.
List Of 2014 Micro Games Gold Medals
4×100 Medley Relay Team
4x100m Freestyle Relay
4x50m Relay Team
GPS Sports Calendar