Athletes Of The Week 1-24

Our Athletes Of The Week Are The Shepherd Sisters

They may be new to the Crossroads, but Gwen and Vivian Shepherd have already hit full stride — in the pool, at least. The sisters, each winning a pair of individual events at last week’s district championships in their first year swimming for West — with regionals now in sight, the two tell me they couldn’t be happier to be here.

Said Gwen, “It’s been amazing. I love the weather, and the new swim program is amazing, because in my old school I wasn’t very fast but here I’ve been really growing with the new program and everything.”

Said Vivian, “I think definitely the coaches, and the friends here, they’re supportive. And Walden really pushes us to do our best in practice.”

Palm trees aside, the Shepherd sisters say their transition into the VISD swim program has been a seamless one. While fun and friends prevail outside the pool, their coach says once they’re in the water the girls’ competitive nature comes out.

Says VISD swim head coach Jon Walden, “You watch them in the pool, they do as sisters do with each other. They give each other a hard time, I think Vivian will push Gwen a little bit more. But, absolutely, they push each other on sets. I hear them all the time talking about, ‘hey what are we going, we’re going here. What interval are you gonna hold on, I’m gonna hold this one’. So, absolutely they push each other.”

That competitive spirit, already paying off. While Gwen earned first in the district 200 yard IM and 500 freestyle, her big sister, taking the 200 freestyle and 100 breastroke. Gwen says it all come back to a positive poolside environment.

“I think it’s just all the friendships that I’ve kindled here. There are just so many memories you can make, all the time, you’re growing and learning together. And it just helps, it helps a lot. “

With regional championships less than two weeks away, their next big test is firmly within reach. Sean Coffey, Newscenter 25 Sports.